Lichen it ♥︎

03/03/2023 By Victoria

Tiny hedgehog awakening from winter hibernation in fresh green grassWelcome back! So much has happened since we last spoke. Sites that were scheduled back in the Summer & Autumn of 2022 are now in full swing, boots are on the ground, materials and trees, on an epic scale are arriving and work is underway.

winter landscape under construction with silhouette of designer Large Magnolia tree being lifted by a digger across a muddy site at Sibford Park

Magnolia tree rootball laid out at Sibford Park with stormy skies Things are getting busy in our own gardens too don’t you feel as we begin the journey into Spring. It’s time to sow seeds, harvest your winter crops and pay special attention to your resident hedgehogs who are beginning to awaken from their winter hibernation.

Hedgehog highway sign above hedgehog access path from hedgehog street Sadly our hedgehogs are in danger. It is estimated that since the 1950s the number of hedgehogs in the UK have plummeted by a whopping 95% in population. That cant be okay in our minds, especially as our landscapes become increasingly fragmented through new build housing estates and developments. Apart from being cute yet spiky, these guys are our friends in the garden. Besties indeed. They are our natural pest control as they feast and forage on slugs, snails and those pesky caterpillars that infiltrate our Buxus. Yep, your parterre could potentially have its own private security detail.

autumn foraged finds forest floor nuts and leaves

There are things we can do to help keep our hedgehogs safe and ultimately protect them from extinction, like a Hedgehog Highway is a great way to start. The concept of which involves a series of holes in fences and walls which will allow hedgehogs to pass freely between gardens, parks and allotments. Hedgehog highways allow these little nifty dudes to move around without having to use human roads, which can be very dangerous for them. We always implement these across our projects.

little things matter

Let’s talk a little about lichen next. It exists all around us, appearing on rocks, walls, twigs, bark and even on exposed soil surfaces. It is essentially a partnership between an algae and a fungus and they are in no way harmful, in fact they boast great benefits to other wildlife, offering nesting material for birds, and food and shelter to lots of invertebrates – which in turn feed other creatures. Woods rich in lichen support more wildlife than any other.

Green and blue lichen growing on the trunk of a white paper birch tree in the garden

A tree trunk covered in lichen in cotswold gardenLichen do not have a root system so they amazingly absorb whatever is in the air, meaning they are excellent at checking the air quality. While they may be smaller in the “big picture,” lichen are integral to keeping both us and our air safe and healthy.

ancient wood tree trunk with white lichen in the shape of a heart

A work bench inside productive garden poly tunnel filled preparing for seed plantingAt this close of Winter we are stocking the hoop house with seed cells. This year we are trialing some exciting new varieties at our productive gardens and flower farm. Watch this space for some new cut flower combinations, some challenges to conventional meadow planting and some unusual vegetables!

Poly tunnel seed planting in Spring at the flower farm

Tiny seeds beginning to germinate

Frosty garden table with metal cut out florals

Speak soon!

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