For those who have been following me for a while, you will know all about my ‘WildlifeKate Hub’ and anyone who visited my stand at Gardeners’ World Live this year will have seen this amazing building forming the centre piece of my stand. I know I have many new visitors, so I will give a little background to this building and you will be able to read more about it on its dedicated pages on my website, which I am in the process of building now.
In January 2012, I was offered the chance to have a stand at Gardeners’ World Live and began sketching the ideas of what I would like. I have always dreamed of having a building in my garden that would serve me as a hide, a workspace, a place to store all my wildlife kit and paraphernalia and a ‘Wildlife Central’ – with unique add-ons to attract wildlife and give me opportunities to watch and film it. I began thinking how I could design such a building for the show, with the view that it would then come back and become an integral part of the WildlifeKate patch.
I began to tweet about wanting to build such a space and was amazed to be contacted by a carpenter who emailed me images of another bespoke garden building he had built… it was actually built around a tree! This person was Phil Clark; a bespoke carpenter from Cumbria. Pretty quickly my mind was buzzing with possibilities and I emailed Phil my sketch…. he said he could build it exactly as I had planned it! I was so excited!
Over the following weeks, we discussed how we could turn my sketch and dream into a reality. I could offer Phil the chance to showcase his work at a big show and build him a website to showcase all the other amazing carpentry work he does. He said that if I could sketch it, he could make it…..it was not long before we had agreed that this was a wonderful opportunity for both of us!
The rest, as they say, is history! Over the last 7 months, Phil, his partner Donna and myself have become firm friends and they came down for the whole of the Gardeners’ World Live event, where Phil put up the hub… the first time both of us had seen it erected! Phil had had to build it all in moveable panels so it could be transported and fitted together (and taken apart) like a massive flat pack! Due to limited storage space and the size of the building, Phil had had different panels stored all over Cumbria!
I cannot describe how wonderful it was to see my sketch turn into reality at the show! I had also planted up panels for a green roof, after going on a course with John Little and Dusty Gedge (definitely recommended!) My hub was quite simply a dream come true and it looked amazing. You can see it and lots of images of it on my Gardeners’ World Blog HERE and my Flickr Set HERE.
At the end of the show, we obviously had to dismantle the hub and it returned to my home and was stored in my garage port until this week. With a mixture of bad weather and work commitments, this week was the first week after the show that we were both available to re-erect it, in the spot where I had originally designed it to go!
Over two days, Phil built my beautiful hub up on a large patio area I have above my pond. The Hub was designed to maximise this space, with windows overlooking different areas where feeders will be placed, and the hide windows positioned for observation of hedgehog and fox feeding areas and for photographing birds on feeders from purpose-built feeder arms. I made a special chocolate cake to keep him well fuelled for the job ahead!
It is looking truly amazing…. I still need to finish off a few bits of painting and sealing and of course I need to replant my green roof! Whereas for the show I had the planting in panels that could be lifted on and off, this time it will be properly planted and with wildlife very much in mind…. lots of different habitats and nectar rich plants for pollinators.
You will be able to follow my plans on my blog and website over the next few months, as I have loads of ideas for this space and it will become the centre of my wildlife activities!
If you would like a bespoke building for your garden, or in fact have any ideas and projects of your own, then check out Phil’s website at www.philclarkwood.co.uk It is still in the process of being built at the moment and more images of Phil’s projects will be added over the coming months. His contact details are there…. ‘if you can sketch it, he can make it!’
This slideshow shows the hub going up here in my garden….. this is just the beginning!