Hello, Jill from the Wild Bunch here.
Our gardens, large and small, need to serve different purposes. With a growing family, play space was the priority for me but we always managed to have a wildlife area and a small pond. My young children delighted in the changes from frogspawn to froglets, in seeing the number of creatures drawn to water and growing plants to attract butterflies and bees.
Moving to a smaller garden involved compromises, but not for the area for wildlife. In fact, as they grew into their teens the children needed less space, so planting for wildlife became a large part of the garden. They have their own gardens now, and I have moved to a small garden and am enjoying creating a garden just for me and my wild neighbours.
It has not been without its challenges. My small garden is surrounded by stone walls, bushes and neighbouring houses so has a lot of shady areas. But with selective planting and a bit of compromise it is possible to have a beautiful garden with colour, fragrance, food and plenty of wildlife.
As well as a host of nectar plants, like sedum, veronica, salvia and dog daisies, I have grown rainbow chard in with the flowers and raspberry canes against the sunny wall. Planting runner beans in large pots gives a lovely display of flowers and the bees love it. In the shady areas are a variety of ferns for texture and red campion, lungwort and foxgloves for bees. I even made a small pond in the shade to provide drinking water for birds and insects.
I grow some flowering plants in pots, like geraniums for their glorious splash of colour and sweet-smelling roses, around the place where I sit to enjoy the summer sun. As long as there is an abundance of insect friendly, nectar rich flowers in the mix, your garden, large or tiny, structured or wild, will buzz all summer long.
Come along to the next Wild Bunch gathering at 1.30pm on Thursday 20th April at Muriel Jones Allotments. Visit the Wild Bunch page for more details of this and future gatherings.