The Rotary Club in Exeter have promised a school in the city that they will redesign and plant their little garden, with wildlife in mind. The undergardener is a member of the Rotary Club in Exeter and I was roped in to give them some ideas on design and to tell them which plants would be suitable. When I first saw it, my heart sank somewhat as there had been a garden on the site but it was completely over run with weeds and seedling trees.
The left hand side is the sunny side and has the sun all day long.
At the top end is an arbour which has more light now that some of the trees have been cut back. I think maybe we can plant an early honeysuckle on the left and a Trachelospermum jasminoides on the right which will give wonderful perfume for most of the summer as well as attracting butterflies, moths and bees.
To the left of the arbour is a greenhouse, made entirely of lemonade bottles! I’m not sure how useful this will be, will have to wait and see.
To the right as we go into the garden is a flower bed that has been started by some of the parents. I was given the job of weeding this!
Looking back from the arbour at the top, looking towards the flower bed by the wall that the parents have done. On the left is where we have been stacking all the rubbish, tree prunings, weeds etc. Exeter Council have very kindly agreed to remove all the rubbish, free of charge, once the site is cleared. Under where the rubbish is at the moment is where there will be a shady border. I can provide a lot of the plants by splitting mine in the woodland, but bulbs will need to be planted soon.
Now we come to “The Pond” which has a rather large cover as you can see, to keep the children safe. It took quite a bit of dismantling by the undergardener, only half could be taken away. You can see that it is totally choked with plants, not looking forward to this!
Here we have cleared half of the vegetation, this included lots of rushes, iris pseudacorus and in the middle, Equisetum or Mares Tail. We knew we wouldn’t be able to disentangle the mares tail from everything else so the decision was taken to take everything out and I would split what I have in our pond here and take those in next time.
It took all three of us to pull the plants out of the pond, these were then left at the side for any little creatures to make their way back into the water.
As only half the frame could be moved, it was decided that the smallest person would have to crawl in to clear the water of any roots left behind. President Richard was the smallest person there, so he had the unenviable job of getting into the mud at the bottom of the pond!
We found 3 frogs in the pond so slid some of the greenery back into the pond so that they could hide if they wanted to, although they easily scrambled up the concrete side and away into the planting at the back . I must remember to take my fishing net when I go next time to try and remove all the pond weed. A couple of days after we were there, the heavens opened and parts of Exeter were flooded, I’m sure the pond will be almost full again.
Back to the sunny side,at the front, forming a bank, is a mass of marjoram. This was covered in different bees and loads of Gatekeeper butterflies. As this is obviously a good plant for wildlife we will try to keep as much as possible, maybe clipping it into a little hedge.
One of the many Gatekeeper butterflies on the Marjoram flowers.
All of a sudden we were joined by a Holly Blue butterfly, not a very good photo, but the best I could do at the time. There is plenty of holly and ivy so they should be very happy there.
The next shift arrived in the afternoon to carry on where we left off, we then came home for our lunch and a rest! I have been informed now that the site is clear of weeds. This means on with the thinking cap and coming up with a list of plants or seeds for each area.
I won’t be the only one splitting plants, lots of Rotarians have promised to split what they have at home. At least 1,000 Crocus tommasinianus are going to be planted in a different area, to link in with Rotary’s ” End Polio Now “campaign. A purple crocus is the logo for this campaign and thank goodness, I’ve been told that the children will be planting the bulbs!