Sustainable planting and creation of the garden…
Blue Barn’s garden is 90% complete, and it has been really fun to create. We wanted to include quite a lot of factors to create a ‘well-rounded’ garden, such as being wildlife friendly, an appealing space to walk through in winter and summer alike, hold areas of interest, have a planted border, be secure to prevent dogs’ escaping, have two seating areas, have small lawn space for children and dogs, and have a few pot plants because well, they are pretty aren’t they?!
As the area we had allocated to be Blue Barn’s garden and car parking space was just a lawn before, we had our work cut out! But lots of ideas combined has (hopefully) created a lovely environment to compliment the Barn itself. We have used hazel and willow fencing panels to offer guests privacy when using the garden, climbers have been planted and it’ll be exciting to watch them grow and flourish over the coming years. We have planted a fairly large flower border within the garden filled with wildlife friendly plants and spring flowering bulbs (I can already see the tips of some bulbs!); there is also a small Christmas tree! A garden bench sits opposite the flower bed, so guests can enjoy the flowers and wildlife hum that will be in full swing in spring and summer. There are two comfy wooden seats at the end of the flower border for guests to sit with a cuppa, and enjoy the garden on warmer days.
When digging the footpath to the front door, a fair bit of earth was taken up and so we decided to use some of it to make an earth hibernacula. This is a dome of earth which provides shelter and homes for small mammals and invertebrates. Due to our rural location, we sometimes have rotten old trees to fell, and we have utilised some of this to create log piles for wildlife next to the hibernacula. We will be adding an old Belfast sink into the ground next to the log piles to create a small water source for wildlife, adding an aquatic plant or two to encourage dragonflies and damselflies! Wildflower seed will be sown in spring to enhance the wildlife area further.
We love creating our own compost here, and have two food compost bins in our garden and three garden/poultry waste compost piles. One of our compost bins was located where Blue Barn’s garden now is and as it was too heavy to move due to being full of rich compost, we decided to use it to plant up the flower border – how satisfying! The plants will flourish from such nutritious compost and we had plenty left over to use in our garden too! There will be a compost caddy in Blue Barn’s kitchen for guests’ food waste to go into so that it can be added to the compost heap; let’s allow the biodegradable waste to biodegrade naturally and become useful hey?!
Guests will walk from their car/s through a flowering arch with hanging bird feeders into the garden, along the wood chip footpath to the front door of the Barn. The front door is actually located within an open-ended shed, we decided to keep the shed as it is perfect for storing muddy boots, pushchairs, bikes, dog crates, wet clothing etc.
Kate & Chris