The Highbury Wildlife Garden centres round a small garden in North London, the humans and wildlife who use it, the local nature reserve and the neighbourhood – as it is now, and as it was – from dinosaurs to Vikings & a great deal more…

Even if you don’t live in Highbury, please read on. There may be something you can do to help your local wildlife. You may be able to link your windowbox, balcony or garden with nearby gardens or parks, so wildlife already using those spaces can move into your own patch. Or perhaps you can influence someone else. Have a look at some of the websites, groups and books that have inspired us.

keirgarden-optA neatened version of the garden, done in December 2010 from photos…

Never mind the perspective, feel the wildlife! As Tiggy, the garden guardian, dreams of past battles, Starlings indulge themselves in the birdbath & a giant Snail slithers past. Two Woodpigeons investigate food – on the high table and under it.  A Squirrel sits quietly. Bluetits, Chaffinch, Great Tits and Goldfinch look for food in the seed feeders or on the Damson tree’s branches. A Sparrow perches on the trellis, a Robin sits in the Bay tree and a Ghost Mouse hides in the brickwork. On one Avocado leaf, a Speckled Wood butterfly basks in summer warmth. &  Magpies are part of the scene, where they usually drive away everyone except cats and squirrels…

GARDEN1 - Garden flat view with Verbascum Olympicum, Helenium, Potentilla in bloom, 19th July 2011

This is the view from the Garden Flat. Roger, our gardener, called it a stage set. The actors come and go; many of them have flown or been blown our way from Gillespie Park, the Local Nature Reserve down the road.

Conservation Rangers at its Islington Ecology Centre  plant and manage native trees, shrubs and wildflowers, encouraging biodiversity and sharing what they know with the public. Come along on a Thursday if you have a little time – join the team for fresh air and exercise at nearby Parkland Walk, tiny Barnsbury Wood, or Gillespie Park itself.

Local gardener Naomi Schillinger has a website: outofmyshed.co.uk , which tells of communal gardening on and around nearby Ambler Road. Neighbours, with the help of a Council grant, grow fruit and veg in canvas bags which sit in their front gardens. Well done to them, and good luck.

This garden is different. It soon became clear that growing food for humans here would be a problem – even growing plants with wildlife in mind is unpredictable. Plans and planting can be scuppered by a cold spell of frost… in winter, any plant thrusting its tendrils above ground level may have them nibbled away. Bulbs are eaten. Gardening here is about putting creatures first wherever possible.

*** Urban wildlife: Some of the wildflowers we have managed to grow here may be unwelcome elsewhere, even reviled as noxious weeds. Some of the insects who visit our garden may be pests in other places. And some creatures we have come to accept as part of North London’s biodiversity may be seen as vermin in the countryside.

A pest to us can be somebody else’s dinner.’
John Chambers, Wild Flower Gardening, WI Books

FEATURING
WEBSITE - Highbury Jurassic dino closeup

JURASSIC HIGHBURY
TIGG3 on dustbin

THE MATCHDAY MOGGIE
Gillespie Park frog mosaic

GILLESPIE PARK
guilty-frog

NORTH LONDON WILDLIFE
WEBSITE - The Battle for Tolla's Hill - Saxon defender

VIKINGS AT THE BOTTOM OF OUR GARDENS
Insect - Forest Shieldbug (Pentatoma rufipes) on blue table, 3rd Sep 2012

CREATURE FEATURE
WPL3 Purple Loosestrife, 3 spires in fern bed with spent Meadowsweet

BEES FAVOURITES
VicBrk1 Old Victorian bricks

LONDON CLAY & THE BRICKFIELDS
your-garden-needs-you

WHAT YOU
CAN DO
xParkland Walk, the Spriggan b

PLACES TO VISIT

ORGANIC TIPS

SQUIRRELS!

Like the garden itself, this website is steadily evolving.