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What can we grow in this awkward area?

Our little park has clay soil on limestone.  We haven't tested the soil, but neighbours who've tested theirs got readings of pH7-8.  The land dips well below street level, the water table is high, and large parts of the grassed areas are flooded every winter.  We are currently developing one such area, from which some outworn play equipment and the rubber matting surrounding it were removed last year.  Some years ago we developed what we call the bog garden in another flood-prone area, with mixed success.  We'd like to do something similar in this new area, but with wildlife in mind.

The area is about half the size of a tennis court, about twice as long as it's wide, and lies between a path and a row of pine trees, which cast their shade part of the day.  We can't treat it like a real bog, because real bogs are acid and stay wet all year round.  Ours is under several inches of standing water in wet weather, but bakes hard in summer.  So far, we have collected lots of twigs and branches brought down in the recent windy weather, and made a log pile, a twig pile and the beginnings of a rock pile.  We are building a bank of sticks, stones and earth at the edge of the wettest spot, on which we plan to plant a gunnera.  Hopefully putting it on slightly raised ground will prevent it drowning, and we can water it in summer.  

At the end of the plot which is a bit higher and less flood-prone, we'd like to grow wild flowers.  Today I strewed thousands of Welsh poppy seeds, and I'm wondering how native bluebells and primroses, yellow rattle, cowslips and wood anemones would fare.

We'd welcome suggestions for other plants we might be able to grow, and other ideas for supporting wildlife.  Not deer and badgers, it's too small and in a built-up neighbourhood.  We're mainly thinking invertebrates and birds.  We'd love a pond, but the council which owns the park won't allow it.


  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 22,293
    Why not fill it with trees and shrubs and turn it into a haven for birds?

    Some of these would look good

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,628
    You wouldn't need a lot of water to attract wild-life, frogs and toads would love it. If it's a large puddle a few inches deep, it's not a pond...…….. Create a depression with puddled clay if there isn't one already, wait for rainwater to fill it and bob's your uncle!
    A few wildish plants/flowering weeds around the edges and a few local stones would help. Around the base of your gunnera would be perfect.
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,530
    Thanks for these ideas, I'll share them with the team.
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