More and more I find clients who want to spend time in natural surroundings. They have a need to feel the earth, listen to the birds, smell the flowers and see the beauty of it all.
This client wanted to develop a natural garden for wildlife in a field overlooking the Cambridgeshire countryside.
It was to be somewhere to quietly potter about watching the seasons and observing nature.
The first thing was to dig a large pond towards the bottom of the slope. It was soon colonised by ducks, water voles and amphibians.
The end of the deck is a good place to watch the animals and on a hot day to trail one’s feet in the water.
Within a season the fast growing water plants were looking mature.
The field was sown with a meadow mixture, appropriate to the soil type. We found a list of the local flora by using the Natural History Museum’s Postcode Plants Database and were then able to choose the right seed mix for that area.
Even in the first year the meadow was a carpet of flowers attracting butterflies and other insects.
A drift of ox eye daisies appeals to the the romantic and induces calm.
Mown grass paths wind about through the meadow creating intriguing routes for visitors.
Mowing is done just once a year, in midsummer, after all the flowers have set seed.
A meadow brown butterfly (Maniola jurtina) takes nectar from common knapweed (Centaurea nigra)
Trees and shrubs were planted small for ease of establishment. They were mulched well to keep down competitive weed growth and conserve moisture. As they grow and provide shade and cover there will be more habitats for birds, mammals and insects and ever more interest for humans.
The client hopes to observe and enjoy the changes for many years.