THE ORCHARD IN A WILDING GARDEN
Area: orchard half an acre; garden 5 acres
The orchard was established, but previously part of the main lawn with no delineation between areas. We are now, at a small scale, "wilding" the garden and particularly the orchard. Patience and a willingness to see what happens are useful in this endeavour.
Long grasses create separation and movement, and gently meandering routes make for a longer journey, so the whole space feels larger. The orchard is managed organically, and we did not spray herbicide, instead allowing the grass to grow (keeping a small clear circle around each tree), and monitoring the species which appeared. The time is right in the evolution of this space to introduce yellow rattle, and encourage the numbers of existing wildflowers to swell: common spotted orchids and ox eye daisies, amongst others.
The hedgerow around the orchard is thickened with new flowering shrubs and climbers and cut later in the year after blackberries have fed the wild (and human) inhabitants of the garden, but before hibernation begins. New bird species have appeared: fallen apples are left, not raked away, so flocks of fieldfares now arrive in January; and a greater diversity of insect life has brought treecreepers into the garden too.