This week our lead scientist Mike Linley paid a visit to Natural Surroundings in North Norfolk. Natural Surroundings is owned and managed by botanists and authors Anne and Simon Harrap.
Their mission is to promote wildlife-friendly gardening and British wildlife.
Natural Surroundings is a small business based in North Norfolk close to the town of Holt and just a stone’s throw from Blakeney and Cley-next-the-Sea. They offer a very special combination of wildlife-friendly gardens and grounds, cafe, shop and plant sales.
Their Wildlife Garden was one of the very first areas they created way back in 1989. The grass field was transformed with a pond, cottage garden flower border, small lawn, native hedge and a few trees with a woodland corner beneath. There is also a small vegetable patch.
They aim to show that a beautiful garden can be an important wildlife habitat. Flower-filled borders in the sun provide fantastic sources of nectar and pollen for many insects. To create a wildlife garden they advise to pack in as many different plants as you can, in bold clumps. Aim to have something in flower year-round. Shady corners can provoke dreams of your own woodland. Choose plenty of ground cover plants, bulbs and shrubs; be ambitious with log piles and don’t be too tidy. Many animals appreciate a bit of quiet away from prying eyes and predators.
Ponds give life to a whole range of aquatic plants and animals and provide drinking water and a place to bathe for many others too. Trees and shrubs create shelter, provide nesting and hibernating sites and song posts for birds. Choosing native plants (e.g. for a hedge) provides many more homes for invertebrates than some exotic species, including many of our moths and butterflies. Trees and shrubs that produce nuts and berries provide welcome food in the winter months.
Anne and Simon Harrap who wrote 'The Great British Wildlife Hunt', generously spend several hours with Mike sharing their expertise for a series of films which now appear in our plant units.
If you have not yet paid a visit to Natural Surroundings it's well worth a visit!