The Undergrove

Slate garden path leading past wooden den, up steps by gabion to fenced platform area, orange flowers in foreground

Where leafless oaks towered high above, I sat within an undergrove
Of tallest hollies, tall and green; A fairer bower was never seen.
~ William Wordsworth

Curved self-binding slate paths, seating areas and wildlife friendly gabions, with native and mostly edible planting, in an east-facing rear garden of a new eco-house, with a grove of oaks beyond a steep slope.

Espaliered tree on plastic fence, greenery in foreground

The espaliered plum is getting established, and the Green Strawberry is romping away

The space is quite limited, so I have made good use of the fencing for espaliered fruit trees and cultivars of native honeysuckle, and climbing roses up the mature oaks. For the two seating areas and roundwood framed den, I created two retaining walls gabions, filled with locally sourced stone. For additional habitat, there are two gabion pillars, topped with bee logs and a slate roof.

White clusters of flowers on young shrub in front of gabion filled with bee logs

Aronia 'Brilliant' in blossom in front of a gabion filled with bee logs

The den has been made for the grandchildren, and is tucked away behind the outdoor office, secret yet accessible. It is designed and built by David Hunter, and is made out of Larch, with a roundwood frame and clad externally.

Newly built den with sloping roof, squeezed into a space behind the outdoor office

David Hunter’s amazing handiwork fits nicely into a compact space

I have used a combination of non-native edibles, such as the Apple, Plum and Asian Pear trees, Hosta ‘Elegans’ and H. ‘Halcyon’, and the Aronia and Blueberry ‘Northland’, combined with native wild flowers such as Devil’s Bit Scabious, native ferns like ‘Hart’s Tongue’ and native cultivars such as Honeysuckle ‘Graham Thomas’.

Flowers in front of stone-filled gabion

The sedum, Daffodil Garlic and Field Scabious all in flower

I had originally installed a half-barrel pond for wildlife, with native aquatic plants. Unfortunately, the leaf fall from the Oaks has swamped the pond, so I have replaced it with a stone pile supporting a Sycamore log. On top of this will be steel water bowl, which can be easily cleaned and refilled, and still provide water for birds.

Sloping garden, steps and raised beds, all filled with plants

The water bowl in the corner is for the birds, surrounded by a boundary of Geranium 'Whiteness'