Margaret Wilson of Approach Gardens writes:
Approach Gardens received a Tower Habitats grant from the Tower Hill Trust in March this year. We have used the money to create lots of new wildlife habitats in the garden, adding to what we did under a previous grant.
A lot of the focus has been on providing more nectar for pollinating insects – this help wildlife and also helps our food growers, as many of our crops require insect pollination. “Nectar bars” (left) were added to the end of some of the food growing beds, with a wide range of nectar-rich perennials and shrubs, including Abelia, Achilllea, Agapanthus, Choisya, Penstemon, Rudbeckia, Alliums and many more. More bee-friendly perennials have been planted down both sides of the garden and at one end of the meadow. A “Purple Patch” of late-flowering perennials includes Salvias, Cannas, three types of Aster, Japanese Anenome, Verbena bonariensis and Erigeron.
We have planted three types of Geraniums, Comfrey, Euphorbia, Winter Jasmine and other shade-tolerant flowers under our fruit trees, and Foxgloves and Cyclamen around our other trees. Very shortly we will buy a Winter Cherry and an evergreen winter-flowering Clematis for year-round nectar.
I must say that we have never seen as many bees of so many different kinds in the garden, such as the Honey Bee and Buff-tailed Bumblebee in the photo on the left. So many butterflies and moths, too. So beautiful!
It’s not all been about nectar, though. We added to our native hedge, including planting two species of Buckthorn, the caterpillar food plant of the Brimstone butterfly. The wildflower meadow has also been framed with native hedging.
Climbers are important to us so we planted Honeysuckle, 3 varieties of Clematis, Everlasting Pea, three varieties of Hops and winter Jasmine for our perimeter.
We bought ferns for around the pond – low, large-leaved ones, to give cover and shade for the frogs and toads. We also added Coltsfoot and Butterbur there for more cover.
We built a large “bug hotel” using some timber that we already had and some we bought from the grant. We bought Ivies to grow up it too. We bought bat boxes, a sparrow terrace box (left) and more bird feeders. The feeders have been a huge success, with whole families of sparrows and other small birds all day every day.
We are so grateful to the Tower Hill Trust for the grant. All of the planting has obviously made the garden look very beautiful as well as helping wildlife, as so many people are stopping to admire the garden and coming in for a ‘tour’.
All photos by Colin Toogood (click to enlarge)