Apart from all of the energy saving devices that have been installed in the Toorak hotel www.tlh.co.uk in the last two years,
The hotel has a new wildlife garden, built and developed by www.acegardenservices.co.uk
This wildlife garden was created in the winter of 2008 and the following spring. The site had previously been an abandoned waste area.
A pond was put in with an adjoining small marsh area, this was situated next to an existing square flat concrete section 2m by 2m which was previously used for the base of the old hotel sign, and now is being recycled into the garden as a standing and viewing area.
Bark chipping pathways meander through the wildlife garden planting, past the high and thick bramble section and circling the pond.
The two leaf pens full of the years dead leaves are situated against the back stone wall.
Two wildlife towers built out of seven wooden pallets nailed on top of each other and stuffed full of different natural materials to encourage the as many invertebrates to take up residence and/or over winter. It also acts as a useful platform for the birds. Read more http://www.landscapejuice.com/2010/05/should-we-all-build-a-wildlif...
The second tower has been thatched with offcuts from hedge trimmings
The garden rubbish is piled high throughout the year on the wildlife mountain and is swarming with insects and slow worms. It is next to the dense entangled brambles enabling those creatures that need a safe haven, a food source as well.
The whole garden is surrounded by hedges on two sides and has an overlapping high fence on the third side to prevent the other local wildlife from the town entering without permission. The inside of this has been planted with rambling roses and honeysuckle etc.
Birch trees have been planted and buddleia shrubs to create some height in the centre for the birds and to provide flowers for the butterflies.
Birds Spotted in or Passing Through Area
Greenfinch, goldfinch, chaffinch, chiff chaff, blue tit, great tit, long tailed tit, goldcrest, tree sparrow, house sparrow, blackbird, mistle thrush, robin, raven, carrion crow, rook, jackdaw, magpie, herring gull, black headed gull, greater black-backed gull, dunock, wren, pied wagtail, grey wagtail, wood pigeon, feral pigeon, kestrel, starling, swift, swallow, house martin, nuthatch, great spotted woodpecker, mallard, canada goose, cormorant, shag, common tern, buzzard.
The half eaten remains of a dead bird were found stuck to the top of the fence, obviously caught by one of the hawks - An example of the food chain in action.
In the Pond (1st year)
Pond snail, whirligig beetle, water boatman, pond skater, green darner dragonfly, common hawker dragonfly
yellow meadow ants --- Lasius flavus, common blue butterfly, small copper butterfly, comma butterfly, speckled wood butterfly, small tortoiseshell butterfly, red admiral butterfly, peacock butterfly, painted lady butterfly, small white.
The creation of wildlife gardens acting as islands, may help to slowly repopulate the surrounding areas with a rich diversity of insects and mammals and birds. The more wildlife areas created the better.
-How many factories with unused areas could perhaps do the same ?.
An important fact to remember is that many insects and mammals require roads, just like us to get from one place to another. Their roads or corridors take the form of hedges, without these many animals are unable to move into new areas.
. A finished perennial flower bed left standing during the winter months can create a hedge of sorts, linking one part of the garden to the next. Try not to be too tidy in the winter months.
A balanced eco system,
A pond was put in to encourage the wildlife and create a self contained eco-system. The water plus the additional insects and fauna will help the birds and the frogs and toads. Many birds had been spotted here and a few have nested in the surrounding hedges.
Piles of branches have been stacked up to provide shelter and hibernation places for toads etc, and the garden waste that cannot be used as compost has been piled up to form a large mountain for insects and mammals.
The leaves collected during the year are also placed in a pen in the wildlife garden to help with the diversity of habitats.
The grass snake often lays its eggs in leaf and compost piles and adders will also inhabit areas piled up with branches and vegetation as they will then hunt and feed on the frogs and mice who in turn will be feeding off the smaller insects as they feed on the decomposing vegetation.
There are many large ant nest situated near the fence at the West end of the wildlife garden, some of the larger ant hills can take up to thirty years to be built and some of these are over a foot in height
The total biomass, the weight of all the ants in the world, outweighs the total biomass of the human population. They outweigh us and yet they produce no pollution.
Ants perform many ecological roles that are beneficial to humans, including the suppression of pest populations and aeration of the soil.
Ant societies have division of labour, communication between individuals, and an ability to solve complex problems. These parallels with human societies have long been an inspiration and subject of study. Many human cultures make use of ants in cuisine, medication, and rituals. In some parts of the world, large ants, especially army ants, are used as sutures. The wound is pressed together and ants are applied along it. The ant seizes the edges of the wound in its mandibles and locks in place. The body is then cut off and the head and mandibles remain in place to close the wound.
A pond is sometimes characterized as being a small body of water that is shallow enough for sunlight to reach the bottom, permitting the growth of rooted plants at its deepest point.
70% of ponds have vanished from the British countryside during then last 100 years.
This obviously makes it extremely important for all us now to create as many ponds as possible, whatever the size.
Most ponds will have pond skaters, water boatmen, water beetles, snails, mayflies, caddis flies, damselflies and dragonflies The latter being useful for keeping the population of the mosquitoes and the midges under control ( the last two wet summers have contributed to an abundance of these two pests) .
The calming aesthetic qualities of bodies of water should not be forgotten, be it ponds, slow moving rivers or country lakes, all create a unique atmosphere.
Many more native plants will be planted, not all the plants in the garden are native at the moment – Birds and insects etc have had long associations with our native plants and have developed many symbiotic relationships over thousands of years. We will be planting an oak tree this winter
The English oak Quercus rober has over 350 species of insects that depend on the tree for shelter and food
For full details of the Green Business scheme , and the judging, www.green-business.co.uk