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Tuesday, 7 January 2014

MCV: January Newsletter

Milford Conservation Volunteers - January Newsletter
It’s been a fairly soggy fortnight, so I don’t imagine many people are treading on their gardens right now. A good time perhaps to review wildlife friendly planting plans for the coming year, consult the catalogues, browse through the gardening books. Maybe, like many of us, you have small branches and twigs that have come down in the high winds. Why not make a wood pile? Insects and small mammals can use it to make a home.
Small changes can bring big benefits to insects, who in their turn will help your garden to bloom in the summer, so even one new plant would be helpful and some useful early nectar plants are available in garden centres now. Pulmonaria and the low growing Mahonia “Oregon Grape” are tidy plants which can find a place in most gardens. Sedums also have a neat ability to tuck into a small corner, though obviously they are later flowering. A wonderfully useful Spring plant is the Ribes or flowering currant, though it certainly doesn’t justify the word “neat”.

Of course, if you’re planning a major habitat change, you may need to work out your detailed planting scheme more carefully.If, for example, you wish to make a small spring meadow in a raised bed, you still have time to remove any surface vegetation and add it to your compost heap. Assuming the raised bed is reasonably drained, you can then sow the seeds and compact the soil by walking on it. Flowers should begin to appear in April/May and this type of meadow is mown in July. Help seed set by not removing clippings for 3 days, then leave it to grow until Autumn. Mow again and add any different seeds or plugs you want to increase the diversity. Such a little raised bed meadow will do wonders for your local wildlife, from summer butterflies to winter seed-searching finches.

Don’t forget we are local gardeners and if you would like any help or advice please contact us on info@milfordcv.org

Happy Gardening – more next month

Milford Conservation Volunteers

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