They say that having a wildlife garden without a pond, is like having a theatre without a stage. A sentiment we agree with – save the dramatics! There is no summer sight quite as captivating as dragonflies and their aerobatics, pondskaters skimming the water surface, diving beetles rippling the water. In these times of habitat destruction in the countryside, creating mini-wetlands in our very own gardens is a vital part of nature conservation.
To this end we have started to encourage all of our clients, both existing and new, to let us design and incorporate a pond within their landscape, whether large or small. We are not talking nasty pre-formed ponds, but lovely organic shapes which we create from flexible liner. We then edge and fill the ponds with a selection of native wildlife plants; marginals from Cyperus Sedge, Marsh Marigolds, and Lesser spearworts; to oxygenators like Spiked Water Milfoil and Brookline. We love the floaters like Dwarf White Water Lily and Frogbits. All that’s left to do is fill with rainwater, and wait for the word to spread around the neighbourhood, amongst frogs, dragonflies, water boatman, and damselflies that there’s a inviting new water feature in town!
Talking about new features in town, we are particularly loving this month the display of self seeded evening primroses which seem to be popping up in all of our gardens. Tall, statuesque and very lovely.
We are also enjoying this month a couple of great new briefs; firstly from a client looking to turn their garden into an outside space for kids – one that works all year round. Secondly, a habitat for bird spotting, which will include the aesthetics of leaving lots of seedheads on plants.
Talking of seedheads – to cut back alliums or not? That is the question. During much of our maintenance work there is always the dilemma of whether to cut back herbaceous perennials when they have flowered. Our advice is; if there is a possible second flush of flowers to be had, like for example with valerian, some salvias and bistort – then cut away. If not, leave seedheads to produce a lovely autumn feature, and provide an important food source for later in the season.
Talking of seasonal lovelies, I hope you are all enjoying making pavlovas out of the wonderful crop of berries we are getting this summer…