If you have an area in your yard that seems to have nothing appealing about it, you can turn a difficult area into a woodland garden, according to Sue Oakey. You know the kind of area I mean–usually dark, heavily shaded, damp, etc. etc. etc. It’s usually the place where a compost pile gets put or you attempt to hide it behind tall shrubs or grasses. Does what I’m talking about sound familiar? Well, here’s an article that may give you a few ideas about how to turn a difficult area into a woodland garden.
Such a space can provide a welcome habitat for birds, bees, bugs, butterflies and small mammals. By replicating an area of wild woodland, this under-used and unloved part of the garden can become a veritable Eden. Firstly, the site. If you have a small garden, then you may not have a choice, but for larger gardens, use a north or east facing space. A boundary of natural materials will suit this style of garden, so plant some native mixed hedging, or build a fence using woven willow or coppiced hazel. For the forest floor, rough wood or bark chips would be most appropriate, and if you need an edging, use cut sections of fallen logs.
It’s starting to sound woodlandsy already. Sue gives the reader information about what plants to put in the woodland garden, arranging a canopy of taller plants to smaller plants on what simulates a natural woodland floor. I like the sections of fallen logs to use as an edging All kinds of crawly things can get in there and make a home. I’m starting to think that this woodland garden should not be a garden too close to the house, but would be best located on the perimeter of the yard. As I continue to read Sue’s article, I’m more and more convinced of that fact.
In order to encourage wildlife into your woodland, don’t worry if weeds appear, and positively encourage ivy and nettles, both of which will be used by butterflies and bees. Don’t rush to remove decaying bark and leaf mould; many insects, beetles and woodlice will be happy to shelter under it. Leave fallen leaves to enrich the ground, and pile up logs, twigs, and upturned empty terracotta pots for small mammals, frogs and toads to set up home. As you allow moss and lichen to develop, you will also find fungi colonising the damp and shady ground.
I like the idea of how you can turn a difficult area into a woodland garden, but I’m not sure it would work where houses are close together or where a difficult area was too close to someone’s house. I’m not so sure my nearby neighbors would like it if I didn’t worry about weeds appearing and nettles growing. Maybe I have enough critters in my yard with squirrels and chipmunks. I’m not so sure I need toads, leaf mould and other small mammals, such as moles and voles. You can read all of Sue’s article by clicking here or on the link below. Thanks for the idea, though, Sue. It may have an appeal for some of my readership.