We are fortunate to have a well-established native hedge (with a fence inside) around 'three sides' of the garden. The plan is for Streets and Open Spaces to progressively thicken this at the base and cut it into more of an A shape. This will be better for nesting birds.

New native hedge

In February 2015, we worked as a group to add another one along the recent solid fence at the back of the garden. The idea being that it would be a good habitat for wildlife and also food and nesting places for birds.

Guy Belcher, the City Council Biodiversity Officer, supervised a group of volunteers who were recruited via the Friends and also social media. Also, we invited Papworth OWL at Sawston's horticulture group to join us, which was great.

  • The bare-root trees selected were mostly beech, for all-year interest, with some Viburnum lantana (Wayfaring tree), Cornus sanguinea (common dogwood) and Acer campestris (field maple).
  • First, we deconstructed the old compost bin because it was falling to pieces and was in the way; there is some excellent compost in it to use as a mulch in other places.
  • Then we cut back any (fast-growing) brambles, elder and rose to give the new trees space (they will grow back but more slowly); we left the self-seeded ash and holly.
  • We then learned how to plant the new bare-rooted trees:
    • Using good digging technique (so you don't hurt your feet), cut a spade-depth slot and wiggle it open;
    • Carefully ease the tree roots into the slot until the previous 'earthline' is level.
    • Press the soil around the tree trunk with your boot.
    • Add protection from rabbits (we didn't do this because we don't think we have them in the garden - although they are in the main park). W
    •  Mulched the area with compost.
  • We planted in a double, staggered row about 4 or 5 trees per metre. 

The trees were purchased and provided by the Council Open Spaces team.

The Winter and Spring 2015, were unusually dry and we didn't have any water on site at the time, so not all of the trees 'took' but there are enough to make a good hedge.

In Spring-Summer 2016, we weeded this area - so far we are taking our a lot of self-seeded ash and finding some big gaps to fill. All good exercise! In Autumn 2016, we added some self-sown buddliea bushes to the hedge in places - good for butterflies. 

Useful links

See the new CambridgeWild webpage for useful links.

Last updated: 1 February 2017.