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Tips for the green-fingered reader

Updated: Jun 5, 2023

By Meerabai Kings

If you’re striving for a gorgeous garden on the Manhood Peninsula, buzzing with biodiversity and plastic free, then our volunteers have some top tips for you!

With both familiar and new faces kicking off 2023 at the MWHG, the volunteers headed to Marine Drive, East Wittering, to give the flowerbed some TLC. The flowerbed was created last spring, designed by our very own Emma, who has chosen some beautiful plants which can tolerate the salty wind, as well as attracting pollinators like hover flies, bees and butterflies.

If you’ve got a seaside garden and you’re struggling to keep your plants happy, why not take a leaf out of Emma’s book?! Here in East Witt she’s planted an aromatic fennel plant, which does well in the bed’s well-drained soil. The fennel’s broad, umbrella-like flower heads attract honeybees and hoverflies in the summer.

What’s more, the dead and hollow fennel stems give insects a safe place to hide, making them excellent building materials for bug hotels- a great activity for kids! Louise is recycling the fennel stems with the helping hands of the Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Brownies of Birdham and the Witterings, so stay tuned to see where they end up!

Emma has also chosen some catmint for the flowerbed, another aromatic plant with bright purple flowers in the summer that attract bees. In the colder months, the dead leaves provide refuge for hibernating ladybirds too!

Above: Before the volunteers worked their magic. Below: Afterwards.

After tidying up the flowerbed, there was still work to be done for our volunteers, who reconvened at Rookwood Recreation Ground. Here, the volunteers have already planted a variety of native trees, which are in desperate need of PPE!

The local rabbits, and the occasional deer, would take great pleasure in nibbling the young trees, but it is important that the young trees establish themselves in the hedgerow- so they can then go on to produce an all you can eat buffet for their hungry neighbours, as well as cover for nesting birds.

If you, like us, want to encourage wildlife into your garden, but are reluctant to use plastic tree guards, take a look at these biodegradable ones.

Louise and Jane have found biodegradable tree guards, made of recycled cardboard, that slowly decompose rather than leaving shards of plastic in the environment. These clever contraptions are held up by canes, with holes at the top to let the light in, encouraging our young trees to grow tall.

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