To any expert in gardening and designing, particularly in wildlife gardening
I hope you get the chance to read the email as well as the time to reply to it soon. I have been having trouble with my family's garden lately. Throughout the years my dad does most of the designing and planting as well as the care for our garden, but in honesty, I never really liked it. To me the garden just seems dead, with no wildlife coming in or out. It's too organised, with pruned bushes that don't attract any pollinating insects, a big carp pond that eats everything they see, it's too clean and tidy and he doesn't even leave out food for the birds (we did once, attracted rats).
I on the other hand always wanted a wildlife garden, a garden that attracts so much wildlife. I like to plant bushes and plants that produce berries that feed birds as well as flowers that attract insects and piles of logs that makes homes for amphibians, insects and even hedgehogs. I especially want to attract hedgehogs, they'd benefit our garden for the good, but there is no entry in our bordered up fences, and nowhere for it to hide or take cover. I asked my dad if we'd make an entry for the critter, but he says forget it, not making a big hole for one animal.
The point is that this year he's given me a chance to design his garden for him, since I've succeeded a course in horticulture and had a few gardening jobs. I want to make and create a garden that'll benefit the both of us. A garden that is pruned, organised and tidily well maintained, but yet a garden that brings in creatures for miles around. I'm planning on getting rid of the hedges and bushes and to replace them with bushes that would bring cover all year round so it doesn't shed and look bare in winter, and yet provides for all manner of creatures, and also get some bedding plants that'll bring colour and attract bees and butterflies.
I'm sorry if this email is too long, but I just want to fill in as much information as I can so you would get the idea of what is going on. I hope you would contact me soon, and help me with providing ideas of a garden that would please both me and the rest of the family.
You dont say what the existing shrubs are, is it just a case of not pruning them so often to let them bush out? It might pay if you are replacing the existing bushes to do it gradually so as not to shock your father too much, also give the new shrubs time to establish and grow. Your father might then see the benefits and be more willing to change.
Dont cut the lawn so often and see what comes up, flowery lawns attract insects, which in turn brings in birds etc. Leave leaf clearing until after the winter where possible to provide cover.
The hole for hedgehogs does not need to be hugh, i cut one into the gravel board and shallow dug some soil out to provide entry point.
Dont forget spring bulbs to catch early insects
Hope this helps,