I’ve been pretty quiet about my plans for our wildlife garden while I’ve been focusing on my goals for sustainable living in 2019, but be assured that the wildlife garden is still a really key feature in this.
Planting a tree, child’s play!
We actually planted a cherry tree in the garden on Sunday, but it was such a bitterly cold day, no one was much in the mood to take a photograph! We went for Stella on a colt rootstock. The blossom will be great for pollinators, it will help maintain privacy between our garden and our neighbours, and as long as the children get to eat a few cherries when it fruits, I won’t mind the birds having a share.
This is the second tree that we’ve planted since we moved in, the first was a Scrumptious apple tree to replace my beloved Scrumptious the First who we had to leave behind when we moved house. I’ve also got plans for an orchard of patio fruit trees to green up a paved area and our neighbours fence. It’s budget dependent as to how I’ll progress with that, but we have a Victoria plum on extremely dwarfing rootstock to form the first part of that because our eldest was so taken with our neighbour’s windfall plums that they were kind enough to let her keep in the summer.
We live in a country that’s quite prone to flooding so I’m hoping that by planting some more trees it will help contribute to reducing the flood risk. I’m also conscious that the Committee on Climate Change has said that tree planting in the UK must double by 2020 to help lock up carbon and reduce flood risks so our tree planting in our medium-sized garden is to help this. Even if they are less than a drop in an ocean of necessary change, they’ll make the garden look nicer, will provide food and shelter for wildlife and hopefully some fruit for us in time.
Do you know what’s even scarier than zombies? The idea of the amount of food waste generated by carving pumpkins every year. Pretty much every house in the UK and America with children will have a pumpkin, but the ones sold for carving are, let’s face it, revolting and unlikely to get eaten. According to The Woodland Trust, 18 million kilograms of pumpkin gets thrown away every year.
I normally just compost our pumpkins, but I read that pumpkins are actually a good food source for wildlife, and I’ve heard that birds, squirrels, mice, hedgehogs, foxes and badgers will all give them a go so we’ve trialled putting our leftover pumpkins outside for the best part of the week to see if they do with a view to composting them when they start to look unhealthy.
While I haven’t spotted anything visiting specifically to snack on the pumpkins, when I have inspected the lids and interior it looks as though there are little tooth marks and something has definitely been having a nibble on them. My best guess is a squirrel or mouse because we have a secret visitor who leaves hazel shells when they’ve eaten the nuts inside.
The real bonus of using the pumpkins this way for me is that it’s a helpful transition for The Happy Dandelion. She got really upset at the idea of composting her pumpkin (even the gunk from inside when the seeds were removed- it was soup apparently) so seeing it looking happy under the tree has allowed me to get it out of the house, and I can compost it when she’s not looking. Like the wicked witch I am.
I started this blog with good intentions of keeping a diary of our journey making a wildlife garden, but it’s been over six months since I posted in 2018. That’s not to say that I haven’t been productive. So productive I haven’t had a chance to blog.
The Happy Dandelion and I spent a lovely, long Monday in the garden in April making bird nests from long grass and hunting for minibeasts before I realised that I hadn’t caught the stomach bug The Groundsman had suffered on the weekend, and that Happy Dandelion’s sister was on the way. Oops. She was very overdue, and I felt a bit silly that I didn’t realise that I was in labour given that I’d done the whole childbirth thing before, but she arrived big, safe and well.
During the long, hot summer, the pieces of the house move that we’ve been talking about for the longest time finally clicked into place and we moved into our new house which has a much bigger garden. I’ve learned a lot from working as many wildlife boosting habitats as I could into my tiny wildlife garden, and I was sorry to say goodbye to it, especially as it meant saying goodbye to my apple tree, raspberry patch and flowers.
The new garden is much bigger (so I guess I’ll have to change the name of this blog, it’s not a tiny wildlife garden anymore!) and I’m looking forward to making it a friendly place for my babies and for wildlife. I’ve already started a few little things to get started on the wildlife garden (little things are about as much as I can manage most days!) and I’m looking forward to sharing these with you.