drone flies on perennial sow thistle

Wildlife garden podcast


Alasdair Fraser coppicing wood
Alasdair Fraser at the gate to Tomas’s Pightle – the wildlife meadow he’s created with his partner Caroline Fernandez and their son Tomas

This meadow, tucked off a main road in this village near Norwich, was used to grow Christmas trees and before that it was a strawberry field until Alasdair, Caroline and Tomas moved here 10 years ago.

There’s also a vegetable and fruit garden with a long dutch greenhouse set back behind their house.

Dutch greenhouse and pond
The garden is comprised of two areas: one to grow food; the other a wildlife area of woody margins and grassland
Caroline in the greenhouse which will be full of tomatoes, aubergines and other salads in a few months time









“It’s all joined up by places where we can sit and enjoy it,” Alasdair says.

There are a few rustic home-made benches around the garden and by the nine metre wide pond.

Here the edges are planted up with bog and marsh species designed to provide a constant source of nectar and pollen throughout the summer beginning with marsh marigold and ending with watermint. There’s purple and yellow loosestrife and the nodding graceful great burnet which gives its name to the six spot burnet moth.

Beneficial insects like drone flies help pollinate not just in the meadow but in the adjacent vegetable garden.

To find out more – listen to this interview with Alasdair Fraser – who also works at the nature reserve RSPB Strumpshaw Fen


Alasdair Fraser’s top five tips for creating a wildlife rich garden:

  • Create a woodland edge/field habitat OR a woodland glade/grassland/pond (unless you’re already blessed with a heath or acid grassland as a garden) – it mimics a garden shrubbery and lawn but adds value for wildlife
  • Choose an indicator of success – not just birds but butterflies and bees. Do an annual count and monitor the variety of species
  • Design, manage and tend – but accept some unruliness   e.g. leave and enjoy dead stems.
  • Buy the best seeds and plants you can afford and position boldly in groups of 3 or 5
  • Have a wet area at least 0.5m deep, lined with the thickest liner you can afford.  Feed it from your roof down pipe or top up with rain water from a water butt

Recommended reading :  Chris Baines’ ” How to Make a Wildlife Garden” now republished as the RHS Companion to Wildlife Gardening


4 thoughts on “Wildlife garden podcast”

  1. That was great Cath! I am sitting in my home with many of the windows half covered up with snow, at least 2-3 feet of snow on the ground and then all that slides off the roof into great piles, so it was wonderful to hear talk of all this alive rich soil with birds chirping. It’s a ways off for us but we plant and tend and eat from our gardens like you (just ate the last of the snow peas from the freezer yesterday—still have much frozen blueberries, rhubarb and green beans to carry us ’till June). Thanks for your inspiration and great cooking items as well. We can share meals and gardens across the Atlantic! xoxxx Scottie

    1. Hi Scottie!
      Thanks for listening. I love that we have our gardens and cooking and growing in common.
      I hope you enjoy the posts still to come.
      Cath xxx

  2. Loving your blog Cath. Very interesting and you are so good at this kind of thing. As you know I have an allotment (previously your allotment) and am growing stuff that I like to eat. Tayberries, Quince, Apples all inherited. Onions, beans galore, peas, beetroot, salad crops. Keep this going Cath. xxx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *