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Urban Wildlife friendly garden for Gardeners World Live

Published in popular Hampshire magazine 'The Scene' in summer 2023

 


Vicky Lincoln being presented a Silver Merit award by BBC Gardeners World Adam Frost
Vicky Lincoln being presented a Silver Merit award by BBC Gardeners World Adam Frost

Those of you with eagle eyes and a good memory may recognise this garden from a recent showing of Gardeners World, or even the Gardeners World Live show itself.

 

(At the recent Gardeners World Live show at the NEC), Designer and horticulturalist Vicky Lincoln created a garden for the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust; to inspire people to make a few changes in their own gardens, to make a home for wildlife.

 

Vicky’s aim was to create a garden that was representative of the real space many people have, and show how anyone can create a really beautiful and relaxing space, whilst also supporting wildlife.

 

The garden features lot of ideas that are easy to make and do, as well as beautiful wildlife friendly planting, so anyone can make some or all of the garden at home.

 

Vicky says:

“One of the most popular features were the insect (‘bee’) hotels, which I introduced as a series of sculptural posts that divided the garden space. We wanted to use recycled material wherever possible, so I visited Southampton Wood Recycling Project. They had every kind of wood you can imagine. They were really helpful, cutting the posts to length and making the angled tops that make them look so architectural. I then set to work with my drill to add holes in a wandering pattern across all 11 posts, which act as homes and nesting spaces for solitary bees”; she adds, “we knew we had got it right, when the bees moved in on day-1 of the show, by day-2 we had already had a bee wall-up one hole, so we will have baby-bees on the way soon”.  

 


Close up of bee-post sculpture

If you want to make a bee hotel, or a whole series of hotels, there are excellent ‘how to’ guides on the Wildlife Trust website.

 

The bee hotels weren’t the only good idea to take home; Other key features, as well as the wide range of trees, shrubs and perennials providing food and shelter:

·      Holes in the fences,13cmx13cm, to allow small mammals through – connecting our gardens up across neighbourhoods helps to create ‘Hedgehog highways’.

·      Wildlife pond – a small pond with a gently sloping ‘beach’ gives creatures of all sizes access to water, and cools the air on hot days.  Our pond is only 1.1m across, and took just a few hours to make, but filled with life immediately.  We used pebbles and stones we reclaimed whilst digging out the garden space to build this one.

·      Log pile in a quiet corner – provides hiding places, nesting material and food.

·      Vertical planting, in this case climbing Hydrangea and Honeysuckle, make the most of the garden space, provide a lovely scent – and offer food and roosting space.

·      Recycled gravel and ‘species-rich’ turf, containing low growing wildflowers – creates a lovely surface to sit/ eat and drink, but also provides additional food for smaller creatures.

 


wildlife pond
Wildlife pond


Vicky finished, “The reality is wildlife provides an added dimension and interest to your garden space, there is always something going on, even when the flowers have faded”.

 

The garden has now been moved to a permanent display the Wildlife Trust site in Parkridge, so its work will continue.



 


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