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Gardening for wildlife

March 9, 2013
National Trust wildlife hotel

National Trust wildlife hotel

Here at Sunnycroft we try to work with nature in the garden. This year we have left our flower borders to stand all winter before cutting them down. We have also left stacks of wood around the garden to form ‘wildlife hotels’. We are hoping that this will encourage ladybirds and other beneficial insects to over-winter within them. In March the borders will be cut down and last year’s vegetation will be stacked to the side of the border to allow the insects to awake from their winter dormancy.

Flower border during Winter

Flower border during Winter

Even though we use organic based sprays, by managing the whole garden’s eco system more carefully we are hoping that this will reduce or even eradicate our dependency on insecticides.

This has been a controversial approach to managing borders and has provoked some very strong opinions from both visitors and volunteers with some favouring a more conventional and ‘tidy’ method of horticultural practice, others seeing the potential positive results of such an experiment. The overall benefit of attracting ‘useful’ insects to over-winter in the borders can only be monitored in the summer so the jury is still out to whether this will give any positive results in the control of horticultural pests.

Thanks to some strategically placed interpretation everyone can have the chance to understand our experiment and make their own decisions on its merits.

by Joel Richards, Gardener

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