Thursday, 11 October 2012

Garden wildlife

I've recently become the gardener for the HQ of a London-based historic buildings organisation. It's a voluntary role but I don't mind as it presents such a wonderful opportunity for me and I'm always happy to have a day in London.

The brief is to encourage more use of the courtyard garden by staff and visitors; to encourage more wildlife (a challenge in such an urban area!); and to ensure planting is obviously suitable for the conditions (shady, humid) and appropriate for an eighteenth-century garden and for that particular locality.

I'm going to take my time planning it over the winter although aim to get some bulbs in this month so we have some Spring colour. It already has some well-established plants such as Hydrangea petiolaris, Laurel, Hostas, ferns, Wisteria (bit shady for that I would have thought). My immediate reaction to the space was that herbs might be a way forward - for colour, scent, wildlife - but this would also be historically appropriate too given that the building is on the site of an old priory and a famous botanist lived nearby. But we should also try to get some more small and medium sized flowering plants in there to work with the bigger shrubs. I also need to research some appropriate containers - no old plastic or bog-standard terracotta...

I'm looking forward to extending my knowledge on gardening for wildlife and shade-tolerant plants. Luckily, I have plenty of experience of the latter at home - although my garden is south-facing, the buildings surrounding it mean there are areas of shade. Attracting wildlife is less of a problem in my garden though - we're in the town but surrounded by Cotswold countryside. Hopefully the London garden will get the sort of visitors as shown in these lovely photos by my partner!