This year's RHS Hampton Court Flower Show encouraged recycling garden deadwood for stylish, wildlife-conscious structural design, as detailed by Jon Ardle of The Garden, the RHS members' magazine
Dead tree trunks, branches and brushwood support a wide range of specialist native invertebrates and fungi - about 20 percent of woodland insects depend on dead wood - and provide cool, humid shelter for a wealth of insects as well as larger animals such as amphibians and reptiles.
Adding some dead branches and twigs is one of the easiest ways of improving your garden's biodiversity. Even a small amount of wood will attract a wide range of smaller species on which predatory animals higher up the food web can feed. Simply piling up logs in an out of the way corner is usually recommended, but this year's Hampton Court Flower Show showed that with a little design flair, deadwood can be brought out from behind the shed, and even take centre stage.
In stylish, modern ‘Vestra Wealth’s Vista’, multiple gabions topped with copper sheeting enclosed a large volume of split timbers. Packed with crevices, these are valuable habitats, and will support even more wildlife as they begin to age and rot down over several years.
‘Green is the Colour’, by tree nursery Chew Valley Trees, turned logs into a wildlife-friendly, sustainable major structural element – they formed one wall of the garden, complete
with built-in shelves, seating and insect hotels.
On a smaller scale, with the right framing and placement, an insect hotel can become the equivalent of a painting on a wall or fence, whatever the size of your garden, and they are not difficult to make yourself. The RHS Visible Garden show feature included this beautiful example against its rear hedge, with different elements to attract different insect species such as solitary bees and lacewings, and places for ladybirds and many others to hibernate.