How to grow a Wildflower Cottage Garden - Lovely Greens
Wildflower Patch

Welcome back to day two.

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Have you decided the kinds of animals you’d like to attract? Good. Now before we take a look at the plants, we need to look at your site. The site and the wildlife – plus what else you want out of your site and the work you want to put into it – will determine the kind of garden you will have.

Taking a look at the site is a lesson in mini geography.

Draw a map

Draw a map of your site. It doesn’t have to be to scale, just in the right shape. Make sure you have key features in the site. It should include

  1. Your house
  2. Fences/ Borders
  3. Any other important features like oil tank, a pond if you have one, seating area, paths, levels, decking, etc.
  4. Where the sun rises and sets THROUGH THE YEAR. This is called the ASPECT
  5. Wind direction

A word about Aspect

Aspect is the most important factor in the garden. It will determine what kinds of plants you have and it may even determine you reconfiguring the garden. When you do the aspect you may discover that your shed is in the sunniest part of the garden, which is a waste of space.

How to do aspect?

  1. Get your compass points – N, S, E,W.
  2. The East is where the sunrises and it then travels to the West, mostly in the Southerly direction. This is why South facing sides are sunnier, better, warmer. You really want a South Facing garden.
  3. This about how the sun travels in the winter AND the summer. Is there any part of your garden that is in permanent shadow? Is there a part which gets lots of wind?
  4. Shade all of this on your map.

Soil, etc

Now you are ready for the last bit. Look at your soil.

Is it clayey? Retains lots of water? Sandy? Lets the water drain out.

Soil can be easily improved over the course of the year. You can do this by mulching. This is introducing compost to sandy soil.

You can also introduce sharp sand into clayey soil – although this is harder. Once you have done this, you are ready to move to the next step.

Long, narrow garden plan with a series of circular lawns. | Narrow ...
Here is a complete garden plan

You don’t have to do a super complicated plan. Just get to know your garden. I suggest you spend about three days doing this in short bursts – like half an hour each. This is because ideas will come to you as you do this.

Vision board

Get a vision board or a little folder which you keep ideas as well. Collect these as you get to know the kinds of wildlife you’d like to attract.

Tomorrow: The Benefits of Gardening and Wildlife Gardening