Who’d have thought that a couple of square metres of garden space could develop into such a joyous adventure? Our new NatureArk has proved to be just that.
Frustratingly, due to work commitments, we weren’t able to find time to assemble and install the NatureArk immediately. Once a window of time appeared, we jumped straight in. We had already chosen the perfect spot, close to the bottom of our garden where there is easy access to an area of trees and scrub and close to our veg plot which cries out for pollinators and pest-eating garden friends.
Assembling the NatureArk was an absolute breeze. We sensibly wore gloves to protect from any splinters and layered the various pieces into place. With a couple of oak trees overhanging the bottom of the garden already, we weren’t short of dead wood and leaves to fill the various habitat voids. We then added the expanded clay into the wet habitat areas and finally added the top soil into the planting areas. All very straightforward.
We took a trip to the garden centre to buy a few plants to get us started. With it being autumn, we’ve put some temporary autumn bedding in place, along with a few late colour perennials that will provide important food for the pollinators. We’ve started with a bit of heather and bedding in the lower tiers, a hardy lobelia along with a red hot poker, aptly named Bees Lemon. My new pride and joy has come from the discovery of a particular perennial salvia. Amethyst Lips, as the name suggests, has beautiful dancing bicoloured purple and white flowers. In the garden centre it was covered in bees (surely a great sign!) so it was an easy choice. Only on lifting it into our basket did we discover its glorious secret. It has a heavenly scent of blackcurrant which only adds to its charm.
On returning home, we planted up the NatureArk, watered everything in and added the insect and butterfly houses to the sides. Within just a few hours the bees and hover flies had discovered the flowers which was so rewarding. We regularly come across frogs, toads and even slowworms in the edges of our garden so, fingers crossed, they will move in soon too.
Our next project will be to create a pond at the bottom of the garden. This was always on our to-do list but will be even more rewarding now, knowing that it will complement the NatureArk and its inhabitants. Along with a bird box, a bat box and a strip of wildflower meadow, we hope to make our garden as welcoming to wildlife as it is to our human guests.