Water features and hanging baskets to bring new life to your garden

PUBLISHED: 00:10 11 August 2013

Attract birds to your garden

Attract birds to your garden

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Jacqui Brocklehurst recommends water features and hanging baskets to bring new life to your garden, and birds too...

Summertime and the living is easy, fish are jumpin’...and so the song goes. Fish may well be jumpin’ if you are lucky enough to have a fresh flowing stream cutting through your estate, for those of us who don’t, a simple water feature can transform a garden.

Water in the garden brings with it sound, reflection and movement. It is a tactile element that can draw you in, capable of invoking a thoughtful or playful mood depending on how it is used.

One of the easiest ways of introducing water is to fill a barrel or trough. Place it in a sunny position and enjoy the light reflecting and dancing across the water. Any water that has a minimum depth of 40 cms deep can support a water lily, and with plants available in a variety of colours and shapes, who wouldn’t be tempted?

Wildlife ponds are a simple and environmentally friendly way of introducing the element of water into the garden and will attract a multitude of fascinating creatures. A shallow, pre-formed pond can be installed in an afternoon, or, if you want to create your own pond dig out the proposed shape, line the hole with sand and finish with butyl liner.

Wildlife ponds should be filled with rain water collected in a water butt. Planting marginals in the shallow water not only allows the pond to blend into the garden, they also create an important habitat for wildlife. Moisture-loving plants planted at the edge provide cover for frogs and toads which, in return, will keep the slug population down.

In the nursery we have wrens who return each year and steal the moss out of the hanging baskets to build their nests. This time they chose to nest in a basket and we waited anxiously as they patiently sat on a clutch of tiny eggs. A few weeks later much excitement when five little chicks hatched. Seeing those tiny birds grow and fledge brought home the wondrous joy of nature and reminded us of the importance of creating natural habitats for the creatures that share this planet with us.

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