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A Beautiful Bog for the Bangor Healing Garden!

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Student members from Bangor University Wetlands Society joined the volunteers of Bangor University’s Healing Garden last Sunday to create a horticultural bog garden, which also lends itself as a habitat to local wildlife.

The bog garden is one of the new developments within the diverse Sensory Spiral on site, a collaboration with Headway Gwynedd to create a space of recovery and mindfulness for local patients of brain injury.

The Garden Plans for the Sensory Spiral, including the bog garden (centre)

Bog Gardens have a horticultural history, often used to replace a redundant or leaky pond, they create conditions for water loving plants without the hazard of open water within community gardens. They create planting opportunities for the often unused waterlogged parts of the garden landscape.

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Garden Volunteers hard at work removing the topsoil.

The team began by removing half a tonne of topsoil from a 5 m square patch near the resident pond, then laid the pond liner over the area. The topsoil was then placed into the bog garden before being planted up with suitable plants (Astillbe, Bullrush, Water Iris and Gunnera.) The pond liner raises the water table by reducing the drainage, the bog garden will become saturated after a few winter rainfalls.

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Laying the waterproof liner, like a big bed spread.

The result was an effortless addition to the garden, which is low maintenance and a real benefit to the local wildlife. The pollinator friendly horticultural choices should provide a diverse source for invertebrates visiting the garden, as well as a habitat for amphibians and reptiles which thrive in the damp spaces created.

It is hoped that the garden will provide a sustainable habitat, and to showcase the student ran wildlife garden which is both productive and enhancing for the gardeners, visitors and wildlife.

Adding even the smallest source of water to the urban gardens of Britain is just one way we can re-wild our gardens, in a delicate and horticultural-ly beautiful way. Better than a bird bath, water brings every type of wildlife into the garden, as well as a peaceful ornament for garden visitors to enjoy.

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The foundations are in!
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Vision of the Future

Creating habitats and connecting the habitats of our green spaces is one way I am enjoying re-wilding on my doorstep, I hope to continue this project by inviting local community groups and schools to try to same – through educational workshops with the North Wales Wildlife Trust.

Published by thegardeningzoologist

Emily Madeline Davies is the project manager of the only Student - Led Garden in Bangor 'The Healing Garden'. She works with the project leaders to deliver engaging volunteer experiences for students to maintain the garden. Her background is in wildlife gardening and zoology, by volunteering at the North Wales Wildlife Trust workshops and completing a comprehensive trainee-ship as a Conservation Ranger in 2019. She is currently in her third and final year studying Zoology with Animal Behaviour at University, favouring the conservation and practical management modules. Her current honours project is to investigate the effect of wind direction on the energetic expenses of bird flight, by using the controlled flights of homing pigeons - which hopes to be useful for the conservation of migrating birds in the face of climatic adversity. Her gardening experience includes completing a Horticultural Technician internship at Treborth Botanical Garden, whilst also being part of the Student's for Treborth Action Group committee. Her personal accomplishments include securing external funding for the Healing Garden from Kew Garden's 'GrowWild' initiative, in partnership with the brain injury charity ''Headway', to develop a sensory spiral flower border for therapy, recovery and mindfulness - free to use for the brain injury and local community. She also had considerable input designing the garden to accommodate and benefit the local habitats and wildlife using her experience working with the North Wales Wildlife Trust. With a knack for gardening and illustration, in her free time she paints in gouache for her natural history portfolio. Looking forward, Emily aims to graduate into a local job in habitat management, connectivity of urban green spaces (gardens) or native conservation strategy.

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