"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

A Stroll Around My Garden - Part 2

To continue with my garden tour...

Climbing up two stepsfrom the main lawn we enter an area with a second lawn surrounded by borders and with a path meandering along the middle.

The borders here consist mainly of shrubs and trees - azaleas, bay, a few conifers, lilac, rowan, viburnum, smoke tree, buddleia, choisya, cotoneaster, holly, hawthorn, lilac, yucca, hypericum - all chosen for their flowers, leaf colour or berries. The path passes under an arch covered in mile a minute which houses an old kettle once used as a nesting site for robins but now used as a plucking post by local sparrowhawks. There is an arbour covered in honeysuckle with a bench and a bed in the centre of the lawn contains a flowering cherry and a rhodendron. Although there is a raised bed which contains osteospermums and lilies of the valley, annuals and perennials struggle here as it is so shady. I call this my "green garden" because of all the different shades of green in the leaves of the trees and shrubs.

We also planted a large eucalyptus tree - now the tallest tree in the garden - which was probably an unwise decision as I have since read that these trees only have shallow roots and so every time we have strong winds I live in dire dread it will topple over!

The path continues up a few more steps and to the left is the wildflower meadow. The first year after we sowed this area we had lots of poppies, the following year many oxeye daisies and each year the flower species dominating has changed. This spring we had mainly red campion flowers followed by St Johns Wort. Other flowers in far lesser quantities include bluebells, cowslips, ribwort plaintain, scabious, knapweed, tufted vetch, white campion and a few others. No sign of ragged robin, one of my favourite plants (!) this year. We use a scythe to cut down the flowers in the early autumn and we may rake over a small area this year in the hope that some of the poppies may return next year.

To the right of the path is a small garden which my son used to look after when he was little which contains a small pond, some heathers, Rosa rugosa and dwarf conifers.

Just a few photos of the wildflower meadow as I have already posted many in previous blog postings. The last photo was taken in May.

Behind the wildflower meadow is a small wooded area consisting of 8 silver birches and 2 rowans with an understorey of hazel, blackthorn, alder and elder. Bluebells and wood anemones carpet the woodland floor in spring (see final photo). We have made a log pile to attrach hibernating hedgehogs and minibeasts and there is a bat box in one of the birches (I don't think the latter has ever been used although we do see the odd pipistrelle in the garden).

We have planted a hedgerow of native shrubs in front of the wooden fence at the end of the garden but as it receives little sunlight it has never done as well as we had hoped. There are several bramble and nettle patches in this area of the garden to attract butterflies.

The Future

As mentioned earlier I would love to reintroduce a small vegetable plot and would also like to add a rose garden and some fruit trees - despite my son and daughter proclaiming they still want to play badminton (they haven't for 2 years!) - I can see the main lawn shrinking in size over the next few years. I would also love a greenhouse but not sure where I could fit one in!

Species seen in the Garden

Over the years we have had 52 species of bird visit the garden. Several of these were "one-off" visits such as red-legged partridge, tree creeper and reed bunting or seen on migration - garden warbler, redstart, whitethroat, pied and spotted flycatcher.

We have seen 6 species of mammal and 3 species of amphibian, 19 species of butterfly and I have trapped 89 species of moth since last August.

When I get chance I will add species lists on the right hand side of my blog home page.

Apologies if I have posted photos that you have seen before and I hope you have enjoyed the tour of my garden.


The Wessex Reiver said...

I love the mix of formal and then the woodlandy, informal bit to your garden. like you I've hummed and haa'rd over whether to have more or less lawn, but like lawn for the birds in the winter. Great posting

Tricia said...

Just catching up with my favourite blogs! What a wonderful garden you have Caroline with such colour. It's great to have the room to leave some for wildlife and let nature take its own route isn't it!

I'm going to turn some of my grass (!) over to a wildflower area - so much more for wildlife to enjoy and less for me to cut too!!

Ragged Robin said...

Thanks both for your kind comments - glad you like the garden.

Wessex Reiver - yes, its a difficult decision about the lawn - we've been thinking about it for 2 years and only extended the perennial bed by about a foot!

Tricia - Good idea about leaving some of the grass uncut - it will be interesting to see what species of wildflower might appear and the insects and birds will love the longer grass