Want to design a wildlife garden, but exposed and extremely windy site, which becomes a boggy site after rain, which it does a lot. Help!
How big is the site? Is it big enough to plant shelter trees or hedge?
if it's boggy, a wildlife pond would be ideal, no matter how small the site.
Sounds just like my garden! Getting the wildlife actually isn't the problem, achieving a satisfying garden is the hard bit. You need to provide shelter, food and water, The last you already have, but as Hostafan says, a wildlife pond of any size that suits is a good start. Extend this with an area of bog plants. Here you have to decide. Most bog plants are natural thugs.If you decide to 'go native' that's fine. but there are a lot of really lovely non-native plants that will really help the garden side of the equation. They will still provide shelter and no doubt food to at least some of the wildlife!
Dogwoods are easy shrubs that revel in wet soil, and their winter twigs are of great value in the garden for their bright colours. Usual advice is to cut them to the ground every one or two years to get lots of bright new growth, but for wildlife you might want to leave them longer as they make nice, bushy shrubs that give birds good cover. Then stagger the pruning so they don't lose it all at once. Hazels are good too, and can be kept to a manageable size by coppicing. The stems you cut down are very useful for plant supports of various kinds.
Ferns are good for wet soil and long grass is food and shelter for lots of insects - Deschampsia caespitosa is very pretty and doesn't mind wet. Most berrying shrubs like it a bit drier, but elder doesn't mind damp feet - you could get a gold or a black-leaved variety for interest, the berries will go just the same. If you have got a drier area then crab apple or cotoneasters will give winter feed and holly gives good shelter as well. If there is somewhere you could let ivy grow rampant, it will eventually provide not just cover, but early nectar and late berries for the bees and birds.
Thanks for suggestions. Am going to try dogwood, some shrubs and grasses but need to be selective as ground does not drain well and can end up stagnant puddles especially where I have had to dig up some plants to save them. The garden is located on Cumbria/Scotland borders so temperatures can be severe in winter. There was a large duckpond on one side but badly neglected and at least 2 feet of black thick silt, surrounded by very large Irises. Nettles grow very well too.
I would be dying to restore that pond Hawthorn can live with wet feet and makes great native hedging and will provide some shelter even in the winter if grown thick. Then of course there are the lovely May flowers.
Our wildlife garden started just the same, the bit of the garden that was always like a bog even in summer, so we just enhanced it that way, digging a pond, putting in bog gardens. I truly love the time I spend out there.
Thats the plan but ponds gonna have to wait till better weather as needs digging out and starting from scratch. Its probably 20ft x 8ft by 3ft deep and there's just me!! The raised beds come first so can get some wildflowers sown.
That's a good way to do it, get the flowers going first for this year. I worked the opposite way last year doing a major restoration on our pond because of all the disruption during the work. I converted it to natural clay lined, put in hedging etc. This year with all the major jobs done, I'm looking more at the flowers, though I did manage to get some bulbs in at the end of last year.
The garden is divided into two by a mixed hedge so any disruption can be kept to a minimum I hope. Pond area on one side and the raised beds and shrubs on the other. The only thing that I have to do is decide what to use to build the raised beds with, stone or wood.
I am in a similar position my new garden is a blank canvas although it is bordered on one side by a hawthorn hedge , bottom has a high trellis fence with holly tree and viburnum tinus and the right side with a high trellis fence covered in climbing roses.The garden faces south so there is some shading at the bottom, the soil is clay and im trying to get some idea about where would be best to place a pond so i could design the garden around it eg. how much sun should a pond get when it is not for fish but purely wildlife friendly. I will be digging this out myself n dont intend to do it more than once, any advice would be good.I too am doing raised bed and am using wood , stone is too permanent and gardens evolve no matter how certain we are that this is a final design.
There was a similar question on Gardeners Question Time about 4 weeks ago and they suggested willow would also be good.
Heather? Or does it need to be well-drained for heather?