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.
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.
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).
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?”