At the March meeting Dr. Cassia Read gave a thoroughly enjoyable and interesting talk on designing gardens to not only be a “haven for people” but also a “haven for wildlife”. She spoke of gardens being on a spectrum spanning formal; cultivated; hard landscape; static gardens through to informal; indigenous; soft landscape; dynamic gardens. Informal gardens usually provide a friendly habitat for wildlife, so important when development and the effects of climate change have made life difficult for our birds, lizards and insects.
Cassia then went on to discuss the seven essential elements for a wildlife friendly garden. These include choosing plants with benefits e.g. nectar bearing local shrubs and trees; structuring vegetation to include ground covers, shrubs through to trees; providing rocks and cavities; leaving areas of bare, undisturbed earth; providing woody debris and leaf litter; ensuring water is available in various parts of the garden and leaving seed heads and dead plants. “A plant is only worth growing if it looks good when it is dead”. Piet Oudolf.
Photos: Cassia Read
Cassia recommended Thomas Rainer and Claudia West’s book “Planting in a post-wild world: designing plant communities for resilient landscapes”.
Cassia presenting and answering questions following her talk