Tuesday, 24 February 2015

woodland garden: encouraging saproxylic organisms

I told you we were getting closer to finishing our development work in the woodland garden. Well, the planting has happened. Or is happening - as you'd expect there's still lots to do.
.... before

Japanese acers and bamboos are in their new positions: they will give this area a distinctive feel as the growing season moves on. The acers should be sensational in fiery autumn leaf. Our commitment to wildlife is remembered as native birch, hollies and yews have been planted: these latter two are very much in the 'micro-plant' category as they've been collected as self-sown seedlings or grown as cuttings from local bushes. The holly 'hedge' I've planted consists of plants no taller than 2" and should make something around the same time I get my centenary birthday telegram.

'It's a hedge Jill, but not as we know it...'

The part of the Woodland Garden we've been planting leads through into (what will become) the green lane border of herbaceous perennials. Some pretty, tough perennials are called for to cope with shade and our sandy soil .... stachys byzantium; leucanthemum superbum (Shasta Dasies); Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Firetail’; anemone japonica 'September Charm' and veronica longifolia are planted in groups. Geraniums, as usual, play a part with phaeum variegatum, nodosum and cantabrigiense ‘Biokovo’ in there. All of these have the kind of simple flowers that insects will love - especially as the afternoon sun brings warmth and light to this area. And an ornamental grass - deschampsia cespitosa is planted in a drift.

The soil has been dressed with our own compost and a thin mulch of chippings finishes the bed off.

and after ... just wait till it's in flower

Our use of logs makes this a really distinctive part of the wider Cordwood gardens. The Tree Council tell us that 80% of woodland wildlife depends directly or indirectly upon rotting wood: saproxylic organisms (those that depend upon decaying wood) are our main focus. We already have wood pigeons, stock doves, great spotted woodpeckers, wrens, robins, song thrushes, coal, great and blue tits busily feeding on the woodland invertebrates. Wood mice, hedgehogs and moles thrive on the opportunities they find in the Woodland Garden. As well as grey squirrels. Grrrr.

And these become food for our visiting sparrow hawks and kestrels. A pair of kestrels has been lurking suspiciously around our large open fronted nest boxes.

Distinctively Carlyle I guess - especially as during the latter part of my former career I was considered dead wood. 
Also distinctive is the compulsive labelling and listing of all the plants.

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