6 messages
22/02/2014 at 11:46

Hi,

newb

We live in a clay-soil region which means water cannot easily drain away, so I was wondering if a wildlife patch in our garden should begin with a raised 'rockery' area to allow rain water to filter away?

There is a reasonable size garden and we initially want to devote about 10 square metres of it to wildflowers. This patch runs up to a small tree (Acer) on earth with the border of a lawn at its front edge, so the flower garden could run on into a meadow flora arrangement?

But standing water is often a problem, so I thought about founding the wildlife patch on rubble or an elevated region.

Any thoughts please?

Many thanks!

Ric

 

22/02/2014 at 20:24

I'll bump you up, plenty of wildlife gardeners here.

23/02/2014 at 07:50

I'm no expert, but I'm sure raising the soil above neighbouring areas would help with drainage. The main way it's recommended to improve clay soil is by digging in organic matter, eg compost, manure, coir etc.

We're on heavy clay, but we're quite lucky to be on a slight incline. We started improving the soil using bags of manure and soil improver from the garden centre just over a year ago and are seeing a big difference in the quality of soil already.

You could always work with it and create a bog garden, plenty of wildflowers like marsh marigold enjoy damp conditions. What sort of wildlife are you hoping to attract? I found it so rewarding last year watching the bees, butterflies and hoverflies on our plants where before there had been gravel, grasses and paving.

23/02/2014 at 07:56
bookmonster wrote (see)

.... You could always work with it and create a bog garden, plenty of wildflowers like marsh marigold enjoy damp conditions. What sort of wildlife are you hoping to attract? I found it so rewarding last year watching the bees, butterflies and hoverflies on our plants where before there had been gravel, grasses and paving.

That's my first thought - work with the conditions you've got - I'd love a bog garden but our soil is very free draining - maybe we always want a little of what we've not got? But there are loads of gorgeous native British flowers that just love to have their feet in boggy dampness - purple loosestrife, yellow flag, ragged robin, marsh marigold, meadowsweet, forgetmenots, cuckoo flower and of course the snake's head fritillary needs damp meadow-type conditions to naturalise in, as do the native primulas.

But if there's something you particularly want that needs a free draining area then I'd create a slope with some stone or similar underneath to aid drainage - I'd probably look at instructions on how to build a rockery - alpine plants need free draining soil so that's why they work so well on a rockery. 

 

24/02/2014 at 21:25

Okay thanks all. Sorry, I only just got to access my thread. Maybe mix'n'match & just see what thrives? Problem is, the weather is so changeable, one year drought, next year floods and standing water

May put a low wall in - or a series if steps - to form a support for the raised area. Otherwise the rockery is going to slope backwards into a fence and weaken it. At the foot of this water will gather - that's where the aquatic plants need to be. There's already loosestrife in the garden, testifying to the damp conditions.

Need to study the notes on the back of the seed packets as well!

Butterflies are the wildlife we are hoping to attract.

24/02/2014 at 21:42

My garden had ponds that are at the level of the water table.  This means some areas can be under water at times and totally dried out at others. Plants that seem to survive are the comphreys, Symphytum officinale is the native one. Marsh marigold, Caltha palustris, though that struggles a bit if it's hot and dry. Meadow sweet,  Filipendula ulmaria.  Pendulous sedge, Carex pendula. Cuckoo flower,  Cardamine pratensis.  Flag iris, Iris pseudocorus. Figwort, Scrofularia nodosa

Areas that vary between standing water and completely dried out are very difficult to get looking good towards the end of a dry summer. 

Making up some of the area with rubble and some soil would extend your choice of species

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