|Exmouth Wildlife Garden|
|How to find the garden|
The garden was created by members of the Exmouth & Bystock Local Group of the Devon Wildlife Trust. Its purpose is to demonstrate methods of gardening that are beneficial to wildlife.
The Exmouth Wildlife Garden was set up in 2001, with considerable initial help and sponsorship from the Exmouth Quaker Group. It is run by volunteers, utilising funds raised by the local group of DWT.
A small group of trees is very attractive to wildlife. We have planted several different species, most of which bear some kind of fruit, thus providing food as well as shelter for birds and insects. Under the trees we have foxgloves, bugle, primroses, and lesser celandine. Look out for the hedge-hog box and the bird nest boxes. The nest boxes are an essential feature for any wildlife garden. Put up as many as you have space for, but never place them in full sun.
Hedge and wild bank
The wild-bank is a new feature in the garden and will be slow to develop, but once established will attract large numbers of birds, butterflies and insects.
Most gardens have flower beds, but the flowers are not just for us to enjoy; they provide wonderful food in many forms for butterflies and birds. If you want to attract birds, bees and butterflies to your garden plant some of the species you can see in our border, although there are many others which work just as well - buddleia, red valerian, night scented stock, honesty, michaelmas daisy, mallow (lavatera), wild marjoram, thyme, sage, rosemary, comfrey, cardoon, geranium, phlomis, verbena, the stinking hellebore, vinca (periwinkle), daffodil, grape hyacinth, cotoneaster, feverfew, golden rod, geranium, evening primrose. It is best to use native plants. Avoid double blooms, as these occur only in cultivated plants and the nectar is not so readily available as in single blooms.
A water feature of some sort, however small, is essential in any garden - all the wildlife you attract must have somewhere to drink. It will also mean that your garden will be attractive to newts, frogs, toads, pond skaters and water snails as well as dragonflies and damselflies. If you create a pond remember to vary the depth, and to shelve one of sides so that creatures can easily climb in and out of the water. Surrounding the pond we have planted purple and yellow loosestrife, ragged robin, cotton grass and flag iris. Look out for the log pile - this is where the frogs, newts, toads and many insects will find homes.
An insect tower provides homes for many different creatures. Our tower is built from old pallets, but you could use alternatives - a simple pile of logs can be very effective, why not try several smaller structures all around the garden? Always try to use recycled materials; as you can see we have used all sorts of different materials. There are holes for solitary bees, rolled cardboard for lacewings, stones, dead wood and tiles for beetles and lots of other small insects. Many more invertebrates will use our tower in the winter for hibernating.
Natural heathlands are very important habitats for many reptiles and lizards, and heathers are a very attractive and diverse species. Bees are attracted to the flowers for their nectar, and many small creatures can take refuge in the dense close foliage of the plants. There are many heather cultivars which flower at different times, so that careful planting can produce year-round colour for your garden.
Fruit and vegetable garden
Most gardens have a fruit and vegetable plot, and although gardeners always have to battle with slugs and snails, the produce you grow can be as attractive as the flowers you plant, and make delicious free meals for your family. In our garden we are currently growing chard, mint, marjoram, comfrey, sage, rosemary and thyme, as well as rhubarb and raspberries.
The two fundamental things which all wildlife requires are somewhere safe to breed and shelter, and somewhere to forage and feed throughout the year. Water butts, as many as you can accommodate, will give you clean fresh water to feed plants and animals, and will also save you money on your water
You do not need a compost heap as large as ours, but you could easily make your own from garden waste, and create a mini nature reserve. You will attract hundreds of small insects and creepy crawlies, including centipedes and slow worms. The compost can then be dug into your garden, where it will improve the soil and help to produce strong healthy plants.
The garden is situated in Hamilton Lane allotments. Access is via the Gorfin Hall car park in Claremont Lane, EX8 2LE (but please park in the road and not in the car park, which is for hall users only). Weather permitting, the garden is open on the first Sunday of the month and a mid-month Tuesday from April to September. For full details visit Exmouth Local Group events page ('phone 01395 260442 for more information).