Inspired by a love of the natural world and working in harmony with the seasons, nature takes centre stage in this wildlife haven.
Gardeners: Julia and Martyn Faulconbridge/Location: 5 Burton Lane, Whatton in the Vale, Notts
To call Julia and Martyn Faulconbridge’s garden ‘wildlife-friendly’ would be to somewhat undersell it. Their plots, a vegetable patch in front of their home and an action-packed ornamental garden to the back, welcome wildlife in with open arms. The couple have lived in their Nottinghamshire cottage for 32 years and to them gardening just doesn’t make sense unless done in close collaboration with the natural world.
When they first moved in the garden was mainly lawn, sloping and unterraced, with plenty of room for experimentation. So did they have a grand plan? “We never have had a plan and we still don’t,” says Julia with a smile. “We like to change things around and play with the design. I’ve even been known to move plants in high summer once I’ve decided I no longer like where they are.”
They began by creating terracing to make a feature of the plot’s shifting gradient and set about bringing a cottage-style garden to life, inspired after reading books by the likes of renowned garden designers Gertrude Jekyll and Margery Fish. It has taken shape over the years and is now “what I would probably call a modern-style cottage garden,” says Julia. She garden which shows amazing imagination, quite apart from fantastic skill,” she says.
The Faulconbridge’s garden is designed to be productive and attractive, but also a welcoming home for wildlife, so the couple run a largely organic plot, avoiding pesticides and fungicides and fertilising with compost and organic manures and mulches. “The only exception to our rule is the use of spot applications to bindweed as this is a real problem we’re trying to eradicate,” explains Julia. The couple have created a range of habitats: a ‘woodland’ edge, log and leaf piles, a dry stone wall, pond and even a sedum roof. A huge range of species have taken up the Faulconbridge’s offer of accommodation.
To read more and to see fabulous gardens featured every week, subscribe to Garden News!