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Topic - How to create a wild garden (W/Cst Scotland) plants experts

Jimbo W on 09 May 2013
This request is maybe a bit unusual.. ..but I was wondering if there were any plant / gardening lovers, enthusiasts or even experts that might be able to help me.

We have been renovating a derelict house in Arnisdale, and we're now turning our attention to the garden. There is alot of wild-life around which we love, and which we want to enhance and bring in more. In particular, over the last few years from the house we've seen a pine martin, otters, something that might have been a water vole, mice, slow worms, frogs, toads newts and loads of different birds. We want to plant to create lots of cover, tall grasses, lots of flowers to bring in insects and when I have time I will be putting in a drystone wall, creating lots of nooks and crannies for creatures. I grew up with lots of exposure to Uistean machair, and I love the unstructured wild gardens where people/function takes a definite second place to the plants and wildlife and particularly want a meadow kind of look. I've contacted a number of garden people, but it seems what I want to do is not what they do, and I've written to a number of gardening centres to advise me on appropriate species to purchase.. responses at all. So finally it comes down to UKC...

...We are just at the base of beinn sgritheall and so it can be quite wet, though instituted drainage prevents water logging, there is some marsh grass at the very back. I guess the soil will be acidic. The garden is only separated by a small singletrack road from the beach below, and so it can be windy, it can rain alot, but can also have extended periods of sunshine too. There is also a stream about 8metres to the side of our garden, most of which is not on our land, but there is definitely alot of wildlife in the area near this stream.

We have dark black mud, with very little sand, but deeper down it can get a bit gravelly. The top layers can store water a bit too well, but I've considerably improved drainage and will do so further. There is quite alot of large rock (from a previously demolished property) and also stones aplenty. I made a start at the back turning the soil over to remove some of the largest rocks, and actually it wasn't too difficult to reduced the overal stoneyness of an area. So we want to plant for a kind of meadowy wild cover.. ..I don't necessarily mean meadow plants, but plants that have a bit of length, to create cover e.g. grasses, but also plenty of flowering plants to act for pollination, to attract insects, and we also want to put in plants at the periphery that produce berries/fruit for birds. The garden is south facing, getting good light in summer, but during winter, the sun barely makes it over the Knoydart hills.

Can anyone recommend a mix of species for general planting across the whole area.. ..I mean we want a balanced mix of species across the majority of the garden? Any other ideas, recommendations, any other ways to get good information?

Thanks for any help and ideas you can muster.


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