All it takes is a bit of ingenuity and imagination, so says Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust member Mark Muir who in just over a year transformed the small brick-paved garden of his town centre terraced house into a haven for wildlife. “Our garden is a postage stamp with a small patch of gravel and two raised beds. There’s no grass at all,” says Mark. “But since last Spring we have grown all kinds of vegetables and attracted a range of butterflies and bees.”
Mark and his partner, Julia, began changing their garden when they received a packet of wildflower seeds as a wedding favour and decided to see what would grow. “We caught the bug and decided we wanted to turn our little urban patch into a pocket of flowers, herbs and vegetables. Bit by bit we added more pots in the garden and along the window sills.”
Their imaginative use of space meant that no area was out of bounds. Mark even recycled an old Vauxhall Astra tyre to successfully grow a marrow. “There’s a pair of split wellies too, which are no longer any good for festivals. One is now nurturing a dill plant, the other has thyme growing in it,” he says.
Once the plants were established, the garden soon began attracting other wildlife. Julia explains “We noticed large white butterflies visiting, and bees and hoverflies tending to the wildflowers in the raised beds. The highlight was finding four large elephant hawk moth caterpillars feasting on our fuschia bush and watching them grow by the day. We also found a slow worm in the small patch of gravel.”