Crib Garden and its Wildlife
After 12 years creating a
wildlife garden in my native Oxfordshire, I moved to pastures new in 2005.
Gardening on the edge of a very large Oxfordshire village, where my garden
was surrounded by other gardens, was an interesting exercise, and over those
years the wildlife that came to that garden and made its home there was
fantastic - within three years we had attracted 24 species of butterfly.
In South Shropshire I was faced with almost a blank canvas. During the 12
years we have been here I have created a beautiful wildlife garden with,
amongst other things,
wildflower meadows, 'mini-meadows', nectar borders, wildlife ponds, a vegetable plot, a
woodland garden and an orchard of local variety fruit trees.
The original part of the
existing garden at 'The Crib' had two very small flower borders, but otherwise
was simply lawn. However it was blessed with three apple trees
and the mixed native hedge instantly provided a good habitat for a few bird species
and small mammals. A year in the life of this garden, documenting
its creation, maintenance and wildlife, can be found in the
A Year in the Life of a Wildlife Garden. Progress in terms of the wildlife we are attracting
has been rapid - especially regarding the bird and insect life. Below you can see just some of
the birds, butterflies, moths, mammals and other wildlife we have attracted so far.
There are many more waiting to be identified!
challenge in this garden is to preserve our fantastic views. In
my Oxfordshire garden the objective was to screen the uglier views
around us to create a protected wildlife haven within a not terribly
attractive area. In Shropshire we have the opposite but enviable
task of including the beautiful surrounding landscape of the South
Shropshire Hills into our garden. In the twelve years we have been here we have
made excellent progress towards our aims to create a really wonderful
and attractive wildlife garden, full of interest all year round, that sits happily in
the surrounding landscape. Over time we have sown a large
wildflower meadow and created smaller meadow areas, by allowing lawns to grow and adding small wildflower plants. We have
planted a herb border and nectar borders, created two very large
wildlife friendly traditional herbaceous borders with a variety of nectar plants
and grasses, established over 40 fruit trees, created a bog garden
with a winter stream and made a wildlife friendly vegetable garden.
400 native hedging shrubs have also been planted. An existing
small copse, where we have located the Teaching Cabin, has been thinned and its original woodland flowers
encouraged to spread. We have laid hedges and sown grass paths. Three
ponds, now teaming with life, have also been created. Our wildlife
visitors continue to grow - the number of butterfly species in
particular has increased tremendously and the birds have risen to 81
species in the garden, including a few national rarities.
Gardening of any kind takes time, and patience is essential, but we
have already made a huge impact.
Below you can see some
of the wildlife we have encouraged here. You can see our
BIRDS - 81 species
and... a Zebra finch!
Butterflies - 26 species
Damselflies 17 species
Mammals - 21 species
Reptiles - 5
Dark green fritillary
Broad bodied chaser
Common blue damselfly
Four spot chaser
Large red damselfly
Moths and Micromoths 223
See pictures of the Wildlife
Garden at The Crib
© Text and photographs Jenny Steel 2017