The herb spiral is a vertical garden design that stacks plants to maximise space and is accessible from all sides to plant, harvest and apply cut and drop mulch/green manure. It has a drier zone at the top for hardy herbs and a moister area at the bottom for more water loving plants. It also has bricks that retain daytime heat and help insulate the soil during the night, as well as being an attractive garden feature.
Small ponds are tremendously useful to a wide variety of wildlife, including insects, spiders, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. Even very small ponds can still provide considerable value to many small animals. Our pond has no fish, but a variety of aquatic plants and adds to the diversity of wildlife in the garden.
Clearing the overgrown entrance garden to plant gave us wood (carbon rich logs/branches) and greenery (nitrogen rich brush) to recycle. We added donated manure and compost to this stockpile to create a crescent shaped compost raised bed to complement the herb spiral and wildlife pond.
The bed is designed to mimic the natural process of decomposition that occurs on forest floors. As the wood and other materials decay they gently warm the bed, extending the growing season. They also start cycling nutrients through the soil, feeding the soil-food-web and plants. The wood becomes more porous and acts as a sponge improving water retention.
Bee and bug hotels provide places for insects to nest and hibernate and stacked rocks provide crevices for beetles and other insects. Mulches of slate, gravel and bark protect the soil creating a more stable habitat for the soil-food-web. The edible hedge, climbers on trellises and bird boxes create homes for birds and other wildlife.