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.
“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