Tarn House’s fellside garden backs onto pasture on one side (home to the Loughrigg alpaccas) and mature oak woodland the other. As such it’s a haven for all kinds of wildlife, with visitors throughout the year including badgers, roe deer, squirrels, foxes, hawks, woodpeckers, owls and bats. Last summer we even saw a slow worm, basking in the September sun.

But there’s always room for more, and this winter we’ve been planting a new native hedge along the garden’s north border, not only to increase the variety of plantlife in the garden – but also because native hedges are oases for hundreds of species of birds, animals and insects.

Not only do hedges provide shelter and safe transport, they also offer food in abundance, particularly in autumn when the berries offer more than enough for the greediest flock of fieldfares or redwings.

So over the past few weeks we’ve bedded down 80+ hedging whips. We’ve planted hawthorn, blackthorn, field maple, hornbeam, dog rose, hazel, hornbeam, guelder rose, honeysuckle…

It’s been backbreaking work, but hopefully in the coming years the maturing hedge will make the Tarn House garden an even better place to spend time – for visitors of all species…

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