The Very Hungry Caterpillar Garden (Tatton Park 2019)

Insect hotel wall made from trunks and tubes

Tatton Park is a garden in north-west England that, in normal circumstances, hosts a flower show in July. One of my favourite small gardens in the Back to Back category at last year’s show was created by the garden’s head gardener, Simon Tetlow, and built with the help of local volunteers. Named in honour of the 50th anniversary of The Very Hungry Caterpillar book to help attract children’s attention, it was designed from a bug’s or beetle’s perspective.

Sedums grown in the gaps between logs
Sedums jazz up the hotel for human eyes

Gardeners may have a love/hate relationship with creepy crawlies, but we all know our gardens wouldn’t survive without them. This garden went all out to encourage us to spare them a thought: the tidier our outdoor areas are, the fewer places insects have to live.

Slices from the trunk of a 330 year old beech tree that had come down in a storm were used to make two huge log piles that ran the length of the garden on both sides. Clay drainage pipes stuffed with moss filled any gaps and formed a third wall.

Insect hotel made with terracotta tubes and moss
Moss provides a warm place to live

The planting included lavender, verbena and buddleia to please bees and butterflies while topiary balls added some neat formality (and made me think of a huge green caterpillar).

The very hungry caterpillar garden

While few people in England’s small cottages and terraced houses will go so far as to recreate this quirky garden at home, it was hard to see it without breaking out in a smile and thinking about the question it posed: “Is there anything I can do that will make my garden more of a wildlife sanctuary?”

37 Replies to “The Very Hungry Caterpillar Garden (Tatton Park 2019)”

  1. ah the link did work – just be being very tardy in approving. Apologies

    and what a glorious post indeed. Just wonderful, and such a fabulous garden. Ours is definitely a wildlife sanctuary but mostly due to over grown sections. Wish ours was as beautiful as this

  2. How absolutely fabulous! I have a few of those clay drainage pipes and have been wondering what to do with them, first thought was to fill with a heavy gritty compost and grow sempervivums.

  3. What a lovely garden idea. The photos are wonderful as well. The value of our creepy crawling friends is often underrated but make all the difference to the health of our garden and world. Thanks for sharing this information in a post.

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