Hi this is Simon from the Wild Bunch with our latest column.
What started as a lockdown project has given us far more satisfaction over the past couple of years than we could have imagined when we decided to let nature have her way with our garden back in 2020. We had already excavated an eleven x eight ft pond before building the house, realising that the walled garden would make it difficult later.
When we pulled back the fabric a previous occupier had laid to suppress weeds, we waited to see what happened next, and the weeds erupted! Out came an old flora with its well-worn pages to help identify those seedlings we could do without, like the ubiquitous fat hen, and those that we should keep. Thecaper spurge isaweird palm tree of a weed that, in its second year, turns its top branches a vivid purple, orange and lime green and is strangely irresistible to bees.
Other visitors also began to arrive. Hedgehogs soon found the underpass from the community garden next door and went straight into their new winter quarters. A rose beetle flew in and landed on a floppy cosmos flower thinking it a rose.
This year a greater spotted woodpecker raised the bird total to 26 species; 44 dragonflies left their nymph cases on reeds around the pond and, last week, the ultimate accolade from nature, a hummingbird hawkmoth, hovered amongst the hedge bedstraw.
We rashly decided to enter our wildlife garden for the Hidden Gardens trail during the Frome Festival this year and were amazed to welcome over five hundred visitors! Set among the knap weed, buddleia, teasel and bindweed, it was the cinnabar moth caterpillars on ragwort that created most interest. As our visitors emerged from the undergrowth, many with a look of astonishment and wonder on their faces, I could only respond “it’s called gardening for wildlife.”
For the next column, Wild Buncher Jill will be looking at the wonders of pond dipping. Until then, go wild and find out more information on the Wild Bunch page.