From Tarmac to Wildlife Garden

Phil Stallard's mini pond © Ceri Jones

Sometimes in life you come across people you just can’t help but be inspired by. That’s certainly the case when you meet Llanidloes man, Phil Stallard!

Sending a Message in a Bottle

Phil runs a Facebook group that encourages people to reduce their use of single use plastic, organises river and beach cleans and he speaks to children in schools about the effects of plastic on the environment. He is so passionate about the subject, he has reduced his own household waste to the point that his wheelie bin goes out about ONCE a YEAR!  He also runs Llanidloes Landscape Scheme, working with the Woodland Trust and Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust to encourage local landowners to plant trees, improve hedgerows and improve connectivity, planting thousands of trees over the last 3 years! Despite all this Phil, works full time for Powys County Council maintaining footpaths and ensuring safe access to the countryside for people all over Powys. But what has all this got to do with Wildlife Gardening?

A Blank Canvas

Phil Stallard relaxing in his wildlife garden copyright Ceri Jones

Phil Stallard relaxing in his wildlife garden © Ceri Jones

Phil lives in a modest house in the heart of the market town of Llanidloes. There is no rear access to the property and at the front of the house it is, well… tarmac.  This hasn’t stopped Phil and he has created an incredible wildlife garden.

It’s not hard to do something for wildlife
Phil Stallard

Almost everything in the garden was free, some things collected while undertaking his work on footpaths, some things collected years before, plants and plant pots rescued from house moves and items picked up on litter picks.

An old wheelbarrow repurposed as a planter copyright Ceri Jones

An old wheelbarrow repurposewd as a planter © Ceri Jones

Something for everyone

Phil has tried to cater for most things with insect habitat, trees in pots, a pond and a newly planted wildflower garden.  Phil’s ingenious use of space is impressive.  He’s built himself a storage unit for his pots and gardening equipment and built a flower bed into the top. The flower bed even has a syphon system that drains the bed into other containers, which helps prevent the bed becoming water logged and collects water for use where needed.

Phil's purpose built storage unit with wildflower bed built on top copyright Ceri Jones

Phil's purpose built storage unit with wildflower bed built on top © Ceri Jones

The small pond provides water for thirsty birds and insects and has even had a pond skater visit it, despite Phil being some distance from the nearest known water source.  In the summer the garden gets a lot of sun and can get really hot, so the pond is a valuable addition.

Phil Stallard's pond with added items from beach cleans! copyright Ceri Jones

Phil Stallard's mini pond © Ceri Jones

For the insects, Phil has added a variety of logs, bark and driftwood, some with holes drilled in and some with dried plant stalk tubes.  They are obviously appreciated as some of them are occupied, and Phil reports leaf cutter bees frequenting his wildlife garden.

Phil has provided plenty of suitable habitat for insects and much of it is in use

 

Aside from creating an incredible urban habitat for bees, wasps and other insects Phil has regular visits from Blackbirds and Dunnocks. “It’s not hard to do something for wildlife” Phil says; “Sometimes I put something down and come back to it a few days later.  You pick the object up and it’s like a whole new ecosystem under there!”

Our wildlife needs your help and particularly insects. Phil has proven that you really can do something for nature no matter what you have to work with and it doesn’t have to cost much at all.  Although, please remember to ask permission before removing things like logs from land or bits of junk from skips!

I can’t leave Phil’s garden without mentioning this glorious old tree stump, covered in lichen and with primroses growing with in it, it’s just spectacular.

I visited Phil’s garden and took these photos in mid-March, so very early in the season.  I can’t wait to see it again later in the year when it really comes into all its glory.  And I will, because I am privileged enough to call Phil Stallard my friend.