We are sorry to say that the National Annual Lecture Day and AGM will not take place on 25 September 2021 as planned. We will let you know in the July edition of the HPS newsletter the arrangements for a virtual AGM instead.

My Wildlife Allotment December 2018

This is my first post for the new blog I am writing for the HPS about my wildlife allotment. My allotment actually consists of several plots and is not one of the conventional allotments with neat rows of potatoes and cabbages but looks more like a garden with lots of flowers, but also some fruit and vegetables. I got my first allotment, a full plot, in 2010 but quickly ran out of space as I am an avid plant collector. A few years later I acquired a half plot, followed by a third allotment, another full plot, in April this year. I now have a growing space of 625 m2.

The old allotment

The half plot

The new allotment

I grow most of my plants from seed as I find it more fulfilling; it is also a lot cheaper than buying ready-grown plants. A few years ago I discovered naturalistic planting design and the New Perennial Movement and liked it so much that I read every book I could find about this topic. I started with a few easy grasses such as Stipa tenuissima and Festuca glauca, and from then on never looked back. I love the movement and grace of grasses and they fit nearly everywhere. Grasses combined with perennial flowers always look good.

Young perennial plants in the greenhouse

Grasses look good with perennial flowers

Naturalistic planting also appeals so much to me because I like to create habitats. I have two small perennial wildflower meadows, several steppe habitats, a bog, several ponds, a small prairie and woodland plantings. Naturalistic planting attracts a lot of wildlife to my allotment.  I love watching all the small and large animals that visit; countless insects such as bees, butterflies and dragonflies, as well as frogs and newts, birds, wood mice, hedgehogs and foxes. I have a wildlife camera which I use to watch the larger nocturnal animals such as hedgehogs and foxes which would otherwise be difficult to see.

The larger wildflower meadow

The largest of the wildlife ponds

One of the new steppe plantings

At the moment the grasses are looking great, especially on a frosty morning. Also many of the perennials such as Digitalis ferruginea, Rudbeckia nitida and Inula magnifica provide good winter structure. I cut most of the perennials and grasses back in February to make space for the spring bulbs which will be starting to flower then. But this year some of the bulbs seem to be pushing through even earlier than usual as I have already seen the green shoots of crocuses, snowdrops and Camassia quamash. Cyclamen coum is already flowering; normally I see the first flowers at the end of December.

Grasses are looking great in late autumn

Seed heads and grasses covered in frost

Seed heads of Inula magnifica

The foxes seem to be very active at the moment; they often come to the large wildlife pond for a drink. The hedgehogs have disappeared, hopefully hibernating safely in a cosy nest somewhere under a hedge. I occasionally see little wood mice zooming around but they must be very careful as there are a lot of cats on the allotment site. The birds enjoy the peanuts and suet balls I put out for them, and the robin often follows me around to see if I unearth any worms.

A fox visiting the larger wildlife pond

My allotment robin waiting for worms

I wish everybody a peaceful and quiet Christmas with hopefully some nice days for a bit of gardening. I will be back with more tales from my wildlife allotment in January.

Nadine Mitschunas

Nadine Mitschunas Posted by Nadine Mitschunas

Nadine developed an interest for wildlife from an early age, and discovered gardening as hobby when she was twenty years old. As a trained ecologist, she moved with her partner from Germany to England in 2008, and is now working at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology in Wallingford, Oxfordshire. Much of her spare time is spent on her two-and-a-half allotment plots. These contain a wide range of ornamental plants, attracting many insects and other wildlife. She also grows some produce. Her other hobbies include photography and reading.

Nadine's blog: https://mywildlifeallotment.blogspot.com/
Nadine on twitter: https://twitter.com/Nadinemi13
Nadine's You Tube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/MyWildlifeAllotment


5 Comments To "My Wildlife Allotment December 2018"

Jan Vaughan On 28.12.2018
Your allotments look wonderful and it will be interesting to follow their progress through the year with you. Reply to this comment
Sue Catchpole On 16.12.2018
Lovely to read your blog. I look forward to the next instalment. The photos are great. Reply to this comment
Nadine Mitschunas On 12.12.2018
Thank you for your kind comments. It will be nice to write more about my allotments, especially with the new allotment coming along quite nicely now, which also has some exciting new habitats such as the large pond, the prairie, the Africa feature and a larger steppe planting. Reply to this comment
Brian Hackett On 12.12.2018
I love the look of your allotments. Having seen some views of them in the Photo Competition, I think it will be wonderful to hear more about them and their management. I'm looking forward to it! Reply to this comment
Cathy Rollinson On 12.12.2018
Great to read about your allotments and particularly to see the lovely pictures. Reply to this comment
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