The Crib Garden and its Wildlife


After 12 years creating a wildlife garden in my native Oxfordshire, I moved to pastures new in 2005.  Gardening on the edge of a very large Oxfordshire village, where my garden was surrounded by other gardens, was an interesting exercise, and over those years the wildlife that came to that garden and made its home there was fantastic - within three years we had attracted 24 species of butterfly.  In South Shropshire I was faced with almost a blank canvas.  During the 12 years we have been here I have created a beautiful wildlife garden with, amongst other things, wildflower meadows, 'mini-meadows', nectar borders, wildlife ponds, a vegetable plot, a woodland garden and an orchard of local variety fruit trees.  

The original part of the existing garden at 'The Crib' had two very small flower borders, but otherwise was simply lawn.  However it was blessed with three apple trees and the mixed native hedge instantly provided a good habitat for a few bird species and small mammals.  A year in the life of this garden, documenting its creation, maintenance and wildlife, can be found in the iBook A Year in the Life of a Wildlife Garden. Progress in terms of the wildlife we are attracting has been rapid - especially regarding the bird and insect life. Below you can see just some of the birds, butterflies, moths mammals and other wildlife we have attracted so far. There are many more waiting to be identified!

The challenge in this garden is to preserve our fantastic views.  In my Oxfordshire garden the objective was to screen the uglier views around us to create a protected wildlife haven within a not terribly attractive area.  In Shropshire we have the opposite but enviable task of including the beautiful surrounding landscape of the South Shropshire Hills into our garden. In the twelve years we have been here we have made excellent progress towards our aims to create a really wonderful and attractive wildlife garden, full of interest all year round, that sits happily in the surrounding landscape.  Over time we have sown a large wildflower meadow and created smaller meadow areas, by allowing lawns to grow and adding small wildflower plants.  We have planted a herb border and  nectar borders, created two very large wildlife friendly traditional herbaceous borders with a variety of nectar plants and grasses, established over 40 fruit trees, created a bog garden with a winter stream and made a wildlife friendly vegetable garden. 

Over 400 native hedging shrubs have also been planted.  An existing small copse, where we have located the Teaching Cabin, has been thinned and its original woodland flowers encouraged to spread. We have laid hedges and sown grass paths. Three ponds, now teaming with life, have also been created. Our wildlife visitors continue to grow - the number of butterfly species in particular has increased tremendously and the birds have risen to 81 species in the garden, including a few national rarities.  Gardening of any kind takes time, and patience is essential, but we have already made a huge impact.

Below you can see some of the wildlife we have encouraged here.


BIRDS - 81 species

Barn owl             
Blackbird
Blackcap 
Blue tit 
Brambling
Bullfinch
Buzzard
Carrion Crow
Chaffinch
Chiffchaff
Coal Tit
Collared Dove
Cuckoo               
Dunnock 
Fieldfare
Garden Warbler
Goldcrest
Goldfinch 
Great-spotted Woodpecker
Great Tit
 
 
Greenfinch 
Green Woodpecker
Grey Partridge
Grey Wagtail
Hawfinch             
Heron
Hobby
House Martin
House Sparrow
Jackdaw
Jay
Kestrel
Kingfisher           
Lesser Redpoll
Lesser-spotted Woodpecker
Lesser Whitethroat
Linnet
Long-tailed Tit 
Magpie
Mallard
Marsh Tit
  
Meadow Pipit   
Mistle Thrush
Moorhen
Nuthatch
Pheasant
Pied Flycatcher    
Pied Wagtail
Raven
Red Kite              
Red-legged Partridge
Redstart              
Reed Bunting
Redwing
Ring Ouzel          
Robin
Rook
Siskin 
Skylark
Snipe                  
Song Thrush
 
 
Sparrowhawk
Spotted Flycatcher
Starling
Stock Dove
Swallow
Swift
Tawny Owl
Teal                     
Treecreeper
Tree Pipit            
Tree Sparrow      
Wheatear            
Whitethroat
Willow Tit                     
Willow Warbler
Woodcock           
Wood Pigeon
Wren 
Yellowhammer
and... Zebra finch! 
 
 

Butterflies - 25 species Dragonflies and Damselflies 17 species Mammals - 21 species Amphibians and Reptiles - 5 species
Brimstone
Clouded yellow
Comma
Common blue
Dark green fritillary
Essex skipper
Gatekeeper
Green-veined white
Holly blue
Large skipper
Large white
Meadow brown
Orange tip
Painted lady
Peacock
Purple hairstreak
Red admiral
Ringlet
Small heath
Small skipper
Small tortoiseshell
Small white
Speckled wood
Wall brown
White letter hairstreak
 
 
 
 
 
 
Azure damselfly
Banded demoiselle
Beautiful demoiselle
Black-tailed skimmer
Blue-tailed damselfly
Broad bodied chaser
Brown hawker
Common blue damselfly
Common darter
Common hawker
Emerald damselfly
Emperor
Four spot chaser
Large red damselfly
Migrant hawker
Ruddy Darter
Southern hawker
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Badger
Bank vole
Brown rat
Common shrew
Field vole
Fox
Grey squirrel
Hedgehog
House Mouse
Mole
Pipistrelle bat
Polecat
Pygmy shrew
Rabbit
Roe deer
Stoat
Unidentified bat
Water shrew
Weasel
Wood mouse
Yellow-necked Mouse
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Common frog
Common newt
Common toad
Great-crested newt
Slow-worm
 

Moths and Micromoths 212 species

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 


See pictures of the Wildlife Garden at The Crib

Text and photographs Jenny Steel 2017