Back to blog listings

Cricklepit Garden Group winter: preparing for a new year

Posted: Tuesday 20th February 2018 by trustadmin

Bug hotel at Cricklepit MillInsect hotel at Cricklepit Mill

Welcome to the next quarterly blog by Devon Wildlife Trust’s volunteer group who look after the RHS award winning wildlife garden at the Trust’s headquarters at Cricklepit Mill, near to the historic quay in Exeter.

This winter so far, the Garden Group have been taking stock, planning for the new year and getting on with some much-needed maintenance of the existing planted beds in the wildlife garden. However, it is important not to over tidy, for example leaving seed heads and berries for birds and leaving piles of wood and leaves for overwintering insects.

Goldfinch on a birdfeeder

This last year has seen the development of a new wildlife pond and bog garden which both have thankfully established and flourishing. We have also seen the replacement of the steps down to the northern half of the garden from the decking with a ramp which now makes this part of the garden easier to access for mobility impaired.

During the winter period, it is important to feed wild birds, we do so in the wildlife garden with feed from The Wildlife Trusts’ supporter Vine House Farm. We are planning to invest in some new bird feeders which deter larger birds. The local feral pigeons have learnt how to use our current seed feeder to the detriment of smaller birds. 

This winter the weather has been unpredictable with generally mild but often wet days to freezing and overnight frost on a weekly basis. It is confusing to wildlife with late sightings of bees and butterflies well in to December. It is therefore important to provide insect friendly planting all times of the year. The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) have produced a ‘Perfect for Pollinators’ plant list to help guide people wishing to develop their gardens to be more wildlife friendly.

Potager garden

In the spring, we will be developing the orchard in the garden by putting in post and wire to enable the apple and pear trees to be gradually espaliered with native perennial wild flowers planted in and around the trees. We will also be starting to plant up the Potager Garden with vegetables and edible flowers that were being grown back in the time that milling first took place at Cricklepit in the 13th century when a ‘fulling’ mill used to finish woollen cloth by pounding it. The raised area at the end of the decking beneath Cricklepit Street was once the millers garden, the millers house occupied where the modern extension to Southern Mill now stands.

More on the work on the Potager Garden and the orchard in the next Cricklepit Garden Group blog in the spring.

Read trustadmin's latest blog entries.


There are currently no comments, why not be the first.

    Post a comment