The Southern Woodland garden hasn't fared too well over the years - the use of pesticides to combat weeds has left the ground devoid of nutrients and has become an inhospitable place for new planting,
In addition the rhododendrons block out sunlight which smothers most plants and means planting around them has been unsuccessful. Their leaves are also toxic to many birds and they repel wild life, including earthworms.
In an effort enrich the soil and enhance the area we are shortly going to be installing a Stumpery. This garden feature is similar to a rockery but uses wood instead. The first stumpery was built in the late 1800 and was popular throughout Victorian Britain.
What is a Stumpery?
A stumpery is a garden feature made using logs, stumps and other wood that suits your choice of aesthetic. Oak, Sweet Chestnut and Beech are good options as they decompose slowly, however any type of wood will work and using different sizes of wood is recommended.
Stumperies thrive in the shade, or part shade and are good under trees or hedges. You can enhance them with complimentary planting.
Why are Stumpery a good addition to your garden?
They are often put in areas of little interest, are low maintenance and become havens for a variety of animals. A Stumpery is a good way to make old, unusual or impractical parts of trees into a productive habitat and an interesting feature.
The Stumpery can attract birds, mini-beasts, insects, small mammals like hedgehogs or shrews and toads. They are a good way to showcase plant and animal life that is often considered less desirable and attractive in a traditional garden.
What plants are typically added to a Stumpery?
Ferns, hostas, moss and lichens are traditionally planted in a Stumpery. Other woodland plants such as foxglove, native blue bells, wood and Japanese anemones, dwarf narcissi, snowdrops, cowslip, primrose, scalia and campanulas.
A variety of sizes and whether they are evergreen, winter green or deciduous are important when considering your planting scheme and the overall aesthetic of your Stumpery,