An apple arch for wildlife

An apple arch for wildlife

Wildlife apple archway walk. Photo Kevin Line.

We started to construct the Apple archway walk in the autumn off 2019.

The objective was to create a feature in this part of the garden that formed the edges of the attractive wooden  trellis boundary of a hen run which houses our rescued hens. 

The construction forms a rustic wooden appearance which has enabled me to train and tie the already existing small apple trees over the archway. This will create an archway of restricted fruit trees in time which in itself is an interesting horticultural feature. But first and foremost in my mind it creates a haven for wildlife. 

In terms of wildlife, the area would still have held great appeal for frogs and toads in the long grasses, and there is a mix of wild flora too.  The advantages of creating the feature is not only that it is aesthetically pleasing which adds an interesting feature to the garden, the archway too acts as a landing station for bird species, and creates shady areas for wildlife. Living willow structures are similar sculptures that we can create within our gardens to attract birds and other forms of wildlife.

Garden crafts such as these wooden features are art work that link with the gardeners art work of planting, this in turn forms a companionship with gardening for wildlife.

I plan to focus more on birds. Not professing to be an expert by any means, but a love and a passion for all things wildlife in relation to the plant world (observe and learn, my motto) observations teach us a lot. I have noticed how certain bird species in relation to flight movements are steered and altered when you include such a structure as the apple arch into the garden.  Wood pigeons seem to be regular visitors landing on the eaves of the apple arch. I also refer to books which include:

  • Birds as individuals
  • The genius of birds
  • The secret lives of birds

As a plantsman I focus a great deal on plants to attract wildlife. The apple arch will be no exception. This autumn on the right hand side nearest our green house I will be planting honeysuckle, I have already planted a clematis species to fill and climb the area where the apple trees will not be arched and trained. These two climbers will then take a hold for spring/summer next year to attract the bees, in fact the Clematis has already started to attract the bees! 

The project continues with optimism for attracting an abbundance of bees, butterflies, and array of insect species. More planting and planning thoughts are in mind for the archway and wild grass areas.

Kevin Line

Kevin Line

Kevin is a lifetime Plantsperson, Horticulturist, Gardener & Conservationist, whose work spans over 40 years. He has worked for the National Trust, BBC Gardeners World and as a Head Gardener (North Cotswolds). Kevin works as a freelance horticultural plant consultant which includes advising clients on planting for wildlife friendly  gardens. He was previously the plantsperson at Lakeland Leisure Park, Flookburgh, also working in the area of conservation and ecology. Prior to that he developed a wildlife garden in Bowness On Windermere for three and a half years. The garden opened in 2019 under the National Gardens Scheme and proceeds were raised for Cumbria Wildlife Trust.

Kevin has a strong passion for wildlife gardening and is a member of Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Butterfly Conservation, Botanical Society Of Britain & Ireland and the RSPB. His passion and deep-rooted interests extend to wildlife & habitat conservation.