Today we welcome our first ‘guest blogger’, Hannah Wakley who has kindly written about how she has devoted areas of her garden to nature and wild-life and dedicated it to our Evington Community Nature Reserve.
I live in a terrace house so my back garden is narrow but quite long. I also have a small, square front garden.
At the back, I have a patio with a triangular bed alongside. That has a lilac tree with a wild rose growing through it and lots of herbs and flowers. In the spring, Welsh poppies appear and then later the mint, thyme and lemon savoury all flower, so there is normally something for the bees.
After the patio there is a lawn with narrow beds either side. There is a buddleia and a small cherry tree in the beds and then some more herbs and flowers in-between. I have a big patch of lime balm, which makes delicious herbal tea. The first two-thirds of the lawn is kept fairly short by my guinea pigs, who love to eat grass when the weather is warm enough for them to be outside. Then there is a pond, which is currently full of tadpoles.
I leave the last third of the lawn to grow long through the summer and only cut it in September. There are some wild plants appearing there now because I have left it long for a few years. I think of the pond and the long grass as my nature area and I try to leave it alone as much as possible. This area is approximately 2m x 4m.
Beyond the long grass, you walk under a wooden arch and there is a concrete path to a seat at the bottom of the garden. There are three mature apple trees on the right, which produce a good crop of apples every year. Underneath, I grow woodland plants and spring flowers. At the moment, the hellebores are just starting to go over and the wild garlic is beginning to flower. There are big patches of violets and primroses. Later in the year, there will be alpine strawberries and sweet woodruff.
I have tried to plan the front garden (2m x 2m) for wildlife as well. I have been planting a few more spring bulbs every year and now I have crocuses, daffodils and tulips. I have sown wildflower seed across the whole area so after the spring flowers, wildflowers start to appear. Last year was the first year and there were poppies, vetches and daisies. I am adding more wildflower seed in the bare patches this year and I am hoping for even more diversity! I want to show everyone who walks by how beautiful wildflowers can be.