Everyone loves a stream, but few people are lucky enough to have flowing water in their garden. The Rill Garden is well away from any natural running water, but we have substituted a small solar pump, which pushes water through a buried pipe from the pond to the top of the small rill. The water then trickles back down to the pool.
The bottom and sides of the rill are lined with pond liner and covered by a thin layer of soil, as well as some rocks and gravel. The liner keeps the water in when the rill is flowing and helps to keep the soil damp when the trickle stops. This allows us to grow a few plants that appreciate moisture in the soil, while the shade of the trees above helps to preserve high humidity: along and around the rill there are a variety of ferns and stands of graceful Great Woodrush, and look out for the carpets of the tiny round leaves of Mind-your-own-Business (a close relative of Stinging Nettle) where the little bridge crosses the rill.
Wet Ground for Invertebrates
Many insects and other invertebrates like a damp patch. Butterflies will stop to suck up moisture from the damp soil, as will hoverflies and some bugs. Midges and mosquitos are ubiquitous in damp areas and will swarm together in the right conditions. These insects provide food for other creatures, including dragon-flies and bats.
A Sunny Glade
In many natural habitats ‘edges’ are the most species-rich areas. Edges are found where two different habitats meet, and where a path, track, road or river cuts through a habitat. Gardens are often rich in wildlife precisely because they are mostly ‘edges’. The bottom of the Rill Garden abuts a lovely sunny glade full of ‘edges; it is sheltered and attracts lots of insects, and is a great place to sit and watch for a while.