Recommendations as discussed with the client
End of garden
- Screen-off the left-hand end of garden with a hedge to create a natural wildlife ‘haven’. Native hawthorn will create a hedge with a very high wildlife value. https://www.hedgenursery.co.uk/bare-root-hedging-a-z/common-hawthorn/hawthorn.html
- Order one bundle of 60-80cm 2 year plants. I recommend doing this before March while it’s the dormant season. You don’t need spiral guards (you don’t have rabbits) and you can use your own bamboo canes for support if needed. Plant quickly so the roots don’t dry out. Plant 5-7 plants per metre, about 30cm apart. They don’t need compost but add some Mycorrhizal Fungi granules in with the roots of each stem. Stake them with a bamboo cane each if you anticipate them getting pushed over (by the dog or playing football?)
- The area behind the hedge would be used as a placement area for natural material generated from within the garden: cut wood from tree branches, twigs from pruning and general garden clippings. As these items decompose they provide excellent habitats for invertebrates which, in turn, provide food for more visible wildlife such as birds.
- The discarded wood from old decking should be removed. It will have been treated with chemicals so it should be disposed of rather than entering the habitat area above.
- You did not want to remove the bamboo, but if you change your mind, there is advice here: How to Remove Bamboo Permanently, Kill Bamboo No Spray or Roundup.
- If you did remove bamboo (and even the cherry laurel), I would recommend planting instead beech, hazel, or a small flowering tree such as a rowan or wayfarer tree.
- Consider planting some shade tolerant plants here (e.g. spring bulbs like bluebells, snowdrops, tulips, etc.) which bloom before deciduous plants come into leaf or ferns (to supply all-year-round interest); all plants which are available online. However, because the bamboo is not deciduous even these plants may find it challenging due to reduced light.
A water butt could be easily located here with the plastic downpipe using a water butt diverter kit. I found a site that might be useful to see what’s available in your area: https://getcomposting.com/en-gb/profile/login
How to Install a Water Butt.
Longer Term Considerations
- Consider removing cherry laurel and/or bamboo and replace with deciduous native species.
- Consider creating a small pond, particularly if more light is allowed into the garden.
- Consider bat boxes, swift boxes and boxes for other garden birds (blue tits, great tits, robins, etc.). The bat boxes should be made exclusively of untreated wood.
- We didn’t discuss the front garden, but I suggest encouraging the existing ivy to provide more food and shelter for range of invertebrates.
I would be happy to do a return visit (no charge) if you decide you DO want your bamboo removed, or a pond installed, or to help with planting the hawthorn saplings.