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Wildlife friendly and attractive?

Posted by Jean Vernon on 10 Jul 2009 at 07:53 PM

One of my favourite parts of this year's Hampton Court Palace Flower show is the group of sustainable gardens. Surprisingly, well for me anyway, it isn't a display of 'Grow Your Own' plots of vegetables. Instead there is great innovation, vareity and intrigue.

One garden that really took my eye was the London Wildlife Trusts 'Life Cycle Garden'. It is an absolutely beautiful mix of soft pastel colours, wildflowers and much, much more. Within this tiny space there are masses of ideas and inspiration that can be repeated in garden plots all over the land, even in the city.

I caught up with garden designer Elaine Hughes, before her creation was awarded a much deserved Gold Medal.

"This is a small sustainable garden, a wildlife friendly garden. As a wildlife garden it tolerates areas of long grass, it embraces deadwood and piles of leaves; elements that perhaps aren't typical of a show garden. What is really important us is to convey to people that although it's a wildlife garden it's a space that's enjoyable to be in and highly ornamental. There are lots of different areas to demonstrate what people can do in a garden. There's a wet shady area, a dry shady area, a pond and lots of hot and sunny flowers. It's also a life cycle garden embracing the cycles of life within a healthy sustainable ecology so we feature seed heads as well as the deadwood."

Every square inch is filled with great ideas to take away from the show. The arch is made from old copper plumbing pipes, there's evena  candelabra made from them. The shed is made from old scaffold boards and there's a living roof on the shed. "The challenge was to source a lot of the materials from recycled means," she explains.

I loved it, the judes awarded it a Gold Medal but most impotantly the wildlife gave it their approval too. "we've had damselflies, butterflies and bees visiting, it's the wildlife choice."



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