I have a relatively small garden and try my best to attract wildlife to it. I put out bird feeders all year round; I plant flowers and shrubs which attract a wide variety of butterflies, moths, bees and other invertebrates and I have a pond where frogs and other water creatures breed. Occasionally, I have visits from the odd hedgehog and fox.
One garden which is deserving of much praise is Ellicar Gardens in Gringley on the Hill, in north Nottinghamshire. I have visited this garden on a number of occasions as I have had the pleasure of having a Garden BirdWatch stand each time the garden is open to the public under the National Garden Scheme (NGS).
The people behind the garden are Will and Sarah Murch. Sarah is a garden designer and Will is involved in the horticultural industry. Since 2008, Sarah and Will have transformed their five acre garden from an overgrown field to an award winning garden. It has been featured in ‘The English Garden’ and the ‘Waitrose Gardening Magazine.’ The garden won The English Garden and Cobra’s ‘Best Gardener’s Garden 2015’. It won an international design award for its Natural Pool, which also featured in the Great British Garden Revival series on BBC2 with Charlie Dimmock.
The garden has a natural pool, pergolas, sweeping herbaceous borders interspersed with grasses and wild flowers, a gravel garden, over 250 specimen trees, a children’s wildlife area, willow maze, a small wood, an orchard and rare breed pets. In February, the winter garden is full of snowdrops, hellebores and colourful cornus and the pergolas have hanging bird feeders which attract many finches and sparrows. As the seasons progress, the herbaceous borders come alive with Verbena bonariensis, Monarda didyma, Heleniums, Sedums and many other flowers which attract bees and butterflies. In summer there is a wildflower meadow. Many flowers have been planted to provide seed for Goldfinches and other seed-eating birds for autumn and winter. Tree species such as Malus and Sorbus have also been planted with wildlife in mind.
The natural pool which is surrounded partly by reeds is a home for newts and often attracts kingfishers, swallows and dragonflies. There are few gardens which attract such high numbers of birds rated as amber or red under the Birds of Conservation Concern (BOCC) list. Birds such as Spotted Flycatcher, Yellow Wagtail, Yellowhammer, Redstart, Turtle Dove and Grey Partridge have all been seen or breed in the garden. In 2016 Kestrels and Barn Owls nested for the first time. This is truly an exceptional garden for wildlife.
So, if you are a keen gardener and wildlife enthusiast, head for Ellicar Gardens on 17th September.
Jean is a voluntary Ambassador for the British Trust for Ornithology’s Garden BirdWatch scheme in Nottinghamshire. If you enjoy watching birds and other wildlife which visit your garden, Garden BirdWatch may be perfect for you. If you would like a free information pack about the scheme, contact Jean at email@example.com or visit www.bto.org/gbw
Sad News About the Bee-eaters
It seems that the three nests of the Bee-eaters at East Leake (I mentioned these in last month's BTO column) have failed.
Very recently the birds have been seen flying to and from from the nests, obviously feeding young. However their behaviour has changed and they are no longer visiting the nests.
The RSPB suspect that the nests may have failed due to the lack of food around and this could be blamed on the poor weather we have recently experienced.
It is very sad when this sort of thing happens but unfortunately that is nature.
Woodborough Action Group
Supporting conservation, sensitive development and protecting the Green Belt
In January, your Action Group reported that the Inspector for the independent examination of the Gedling Local Planning Document (Part 2 Local Plan) would be holding hearing sessions during February and March. The Action Group said it would keep in close contact with the progress of the hearings, especially on those topics that may affect Woodborough. At the time, we did not anticipate any major changes but we said we would not take anything for granted!
Well it is as well we didn’t. The hearings have dragged on far longer than anticipated. The flow of new information and updated housing development projections has been significant. The inspector’s questions about the plans for Woodborough, that were referred to in the January edition of the Woodborough Web, have all been discussed. Elsewhere in the Borough, the Inspector has raised significant concerns about the allocation of land for future housing in the Dorket Head area. This is due to the proximity to the adjacent minerals site at the brickworks. Gedling Borough Council have been asked to reconsider the allocations and make up any shortfall by identifying an additional site or sites elsewhere. Once this has been done there will have to be another six-week public consultation on any amendments proposed. The Inspectors hearing would then recommence.
It would appear, now, that the Local Plan will not be adopted until next year and may indeed be delayed until next summer! Any new sites put forward should be close to the main urban areas and would therefore not affect any of the village draft plans, including those for Woodborough.
As far as the Action Group are concerned we can only say again that we will not take anything for granted and will continue to monitor events.