I’ve mentioned on here before that I have a bit of scrubby land between the garden and the railway line. Originally, the wooden fence at the bottom of the garden marked the boundary between the railway line and our garden. However, as part of Network Rail’s work to stop trespassers on the train tracks, they installed new metal spiked fencing along this stretch of the railway line one metre in from the original boundary, meaning we’ve gained a metre of land. It was a daft thing to do, as the railway line isn’t accessible from this section of track anyway – the hedging and scrub on their embankment is really thick! Still, I’m sure it made them feel better!
On the Network Rail side of the land there are a few trees, so our patch of scrub is quite shaded, and I’ve been pottering with it for over a year now. I’ve planted two trees – a rowan and a crab apple. A third, an elder, is planted but growing weirdly so I don’t think it will take. I’ve installed a mini pond, a composter, a little bit of paving and a rhubarb plant. However, a lot of the patch of land ended up as just soil, as the weeds are veracious and you have to keep on top of them if you want access to the land.
I’ve tried seeding wildflowers there before, but the cheeky birds ate all the seed. Then, when I was browsing the Wiggly Wigglers website last week I noticed that they sell wildflowers in pots (and mats and turf if you’re wondering). Since germinating is the problem for me, this seemed like the solution. I was on the site to order birdseed, but I got six wildflower plants for £10 too.
When the parcel arrived, Archie helped me unpack it in the garden!
The plants came in packs of three in cardboard bag-style containers. They shipped well – I’m impressed! The bags in the background are the birdseed I ordered.
Each plant is a different species. Some prefer full sun and I’ve planted them in pots, one was a yellow cowslip that my Mum wants so I’ve not planted it, and the final three are the shade lovers going on the scrub patch.
If the plants take, they will spread by themselves and help colonise the bare soil. I’ve left labels in for now until I become familiar with the plants, but I will remove them once I recognise the flowers.
This is the section of land, looking north from the composter (which is behind me). The green wire at the far end marks the boundary to next door’s section (not all my neighbours have moved into this additional bit of land yet – and it gives you an idea of how bad the weeds get!). The sticks you can see on the far left are around the mini pond, to protect it from the evil black cat that prowls (Archie’s nemesis). I am intending to put the slabs in the ground properly sometime, I just haven’t got round to it yet (well, I’ve done a couple, but you can’t tell from this photo!).
If the wildflowers take, I will buy more next year to fill in the rest of the bare soil, so that you are walking on slabs surrounded by wildflowers and rhubarb. I’m being cautious for now because the soil here is poor quality and has a lot of rubble and building waste in it, and I don’t know if the plants will survive.
What I really want, though, is a hedgehog house. I know there is a hedgehog about as I’ve found his poo in the garden, but even the cheap homes are at least £25.
I always wonder about clearing the “natural” habitat to create an artificial native environment, as I’m doing here, but the weeds that dominate along this stretch of railway line number maybe two or three. If my wildflowers take, I’ll have increased the biodiversity along this stretch of railway line, and added additional pollen sources for the local insects. I figure that the local wildlife is happy to have a little disturbance in exchange for more bugs to eat!
(This post isn’t sponsored.)