Creating my mini-wildlife garden (part 3)

As already mentioned on the previous page, I wanted to introduce a lot of wildlife friendly planting in to my tiny garden plot but had to overcome two significant obstacles first:

Half of the “garden area” was covered by a concrete drive (which I couldn’t dig up) AND the remaining half consisted of a tiny, patchy bit of “lawn” which had been laid on only 15 cm of soil – with rubble underneath!

I decided that the only way I was going to successfully introduce fruiting trees, bushes and edible plants was to introduce more raised beds in order to provide enough soil depth for my planting. Although some of the planters would cover some of the concrete drive, I also needed to leave space for a path on the concrete slab as well as some space for my toddler to play safely. I did a lot of research on the internet and decided that the way forward was to order a metric tonne of “playbark” to thickly cover those parts of the concrete driveway which weren’t going to have raised beds placed on them. As the “playbark” was the same chunky type of bark used in playgrounds , it would have the big advantage of softening any falls my little boy had when playing in the garden as well as helping to soften the appearance and feel of the hard concrete slab .

1 ton bag of “playbark” sitting on the bleak concrete drive – before being spread all over it

The same concrete drive looking considerably less bleak after a thick application of the “playbark”. It was really lovely and soft to walk on , emitting a heady smell of pine with every footstep on it

An unexpected surprise was that within a matter of weeks of covering the concrete drive with “playbark“, I discovered that the bark had become an important wildlife habitat in its own right with worms wriggling beneath its surface, apparently using it as “subterranean motorway” to migrate from one raised bed to another. In the damper, shady areas of the “playbark”, earwigs could be found using it to forage for decomposing material and other insects which had started to make use of the habitat . It was great to discover that something which I had installed in the garden for (mainly) child-safety and aesthetic reasons was also providing a habitat for worms and insects, which in turn would start to attract their predators, higher up the food chain , such as hedgehogs and birds.

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