Gardeners do their bit for nature

Gardeners do their bit for nature

Queen's gardener Billy Kirkwood pictured at the new wildlife hedge at the McClay Library

Queen’s gardeners have just completed their latest biodiversity project with the planting of a new wildlife hedge at the McClay Library.

As a result of two severe winters, the planting to the rear of the McClay Library died and it was decided the replacement boundary planting should be of native species.

The hedge is approximately 95 metres in length and consists of five different native species namely Blackthorn, Hawthorn, Hazel, Holly and mixed trees, including Oak, Rowan and Crab apple. All the plants have been sourced locally through the Conservation Volunteers NI.

Head Gardener Paul Wallace said: “It is hoped that this hedge will act as a wildlife corridor for mammals and birds to move between the University and the Botanical Gardens and provide food and shelter for insects, mammals and birds.

“In Northern Ireland over thirty species of birds regularly rely on hedges for breeding, shelter and feeding.  The Hawthorn, Blackthorn and Hazel, which have been planted, are particularly good for wildlife as they support a large number of insect species. Wrens and hedge sparrows will feed on these insects while thrushes and blackbirds will feed on earthworms and other grubs in the hedge bottom.  In autumn haws and sloes should provide rich pickings for bullfinches and chaffinches. Over time, as the hedgerow matures, small mammals including hedgehogs may also take nuts and berries from the hedge.”

The hedgerow is one of a number to be planted at the University over the past number of years, including 7 Lennoxvale and the Ashby car park.  A significant amount of native planting was also undertaken as part of the Malone Playing Fields development.

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