The hedges around Moss Wood may not always look special, but believe it or not they are actually the key to a lot of the wildlife around the park! As well as a range of birds, the hedges – especially at the bottom – are a vital habitat to a large number of invertebrates and small vertebrates (like hedgehogs!). The same is also true of the patches of unmown grass you can see in a few discrete corners of the site.
To keep building this bio-diversity, we will be adding in more native species including holly, blackthorn, guelder rose, dog rose and hazel – along with some wild honeysuckle and old man’s beard – to the hedgerows around the park here at Moss Wood.
As many British hedges don’t blossom or berry until their second year, we will be rotating growth, coppicing, cutting and laying the hedges over an informal two to three year rota as and when it is needed. We will also be trying to add some colour to the uncut bottoms of the hedges by introducing more wildflowers to these areas.
So how can you help? If you leave the bottoms of any hedging near you undisturbed to about two to three feet from the base of the hedge then this will help the wildlife. You could also try replacing some of your traditional bedding plants with a herbaceous mix of plants. You may have noticed that we have experimented with this on many of our flower beds this year around the park. Why? Simply because bedding plants are not great for wildlife – whereas herbaceous plants are much better, providing more cover and pollen etc. And they are often just as attractive!
You can find out more about the importance of hedgerows to wildlife from this information from the RSPB – click here to go there.