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BIODIVERSITY IN NEWCASTLE - My urban oasis challenge

Updated: Jul 1, 2023

<<Sustainable gardening and supporting biodiversity feature high in many of our members' priorities. Climate Action Newcastle member Chris is sharing his personal project through this new regular blog - he’ll welcome your tips, ideas and questions to help him along the way!>>

My Urban Oasis

There are myriad ways for each of us to improve our ecological impacts, from cutting out animal products; reducing consumption (especially plastics); ethical banking; being mindful about how we commute - and many others (many of which are discussed elsewhere on this site!). Although they’re all extremely important, a downside is that most of us see the effort involved - the hassle of changing banks, extra time to take the bus, expense of non-dairy milk alternatives - but without being able to experience the immediate benefits.

I tried to come up with positive actions that I could take which are less distant or abstract. I wanted them to be directly rewarding, with benefits at a local level and - most of all - something I’ll realistically be able to complete!

My thinking turned to ways to maintain and increase local biodiversity. I’ve not paid much thought to this in the past – I’m the not-so-proud owner of an Astroturf “lawn”. And I’m not particularly green fingered, so at the outset had very little clue on the best course of action. However, an allotment plot came available close to my home, and my wife Charlie and I at last had a great opportunity to do … ’something’!

Charlie transformed 90% of it in 2022, introducing a whole variety of fruits and vegetables. The remaining 10% is my biodiversity oasis project for 2023! It’s a small patch right at the bottom end, hidden behind the shed. It’s not particularly practical for access, so not great to use to grow any fruit or veg.

My Biodiversity Oasis project diary below charts what I'm attempting, and, hopefully, the wonderful results :) .The latest post appears at the top. Below that you can read through the diary from the beginning. Just click on the symbols on the left to join my world, share the pain, enjoy the pleasure! Feel free to share my learning! - what works, what doesn't, and what you think might work better!! Comments very welcome, please add below the blog.


June 2023

Some exciting developments in the biodiversity garden to share with you!

Greenery has spread right across the plot now, and we're now starting to see some colour appear - especially in the form of borage, which has sprung up strongly over the past couple of weeks. The bees seem to be particularly enjoy this! I'm told borage is also good for eating, so I shall investigate that considering we're getting an abundance! I've noticed quite a few ladybirds around too, something is clearly taking their fancy. I've yet to put the bug hotel we have out, but we seem to be attracting enough insects that they may actually make use of it :D

The pond is now teeming with life - a host of wriggly and creepy-crawlies have made it their home, but most excitingly the tadpoles have thrived to the point where we have at least one tiny frog! I was able to count one frog and at least another 6 tadpoles, so hopefully they will continue to enjoy the pond :) The pond itself did threaten to dry out somewhat given the warm and dry weather we had throughout May and June, but I was able to keep the water level up using water from our water butt.

I've got some potatoes on the go which have taken over a planter I have in the corner, and seem to be almost ready to flower.

The hedgehog house is now out, a bit less exposed given there is a lot more foliage to protect it, but I may try to find a more sheltered spot.

The pic below shows how things have changed over the past few months. I'm pretty happy with the results so far!

I've also added a gallery below.




Previous Posts - click arrow to read!

October 2022 – Making a start

Late October 2022 - some small progress!

November 2022 - SOR (Save Our Raspberries)

Winter 2022 - Preparations

Early Spring, quick update

Late Spring 2023

Early Summer


***More stories on gardening, composting, food sharing from our Climate Action Newcastle members can be read here.

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Chris B
Chris B
Jan 09, 2023

'Pond may be stretching it for what I end up with - fancy puddle more accurate 😄


Paul Miskin
Paul Miskin
Jan 06, 2023

Id like to put chris on our ABCfestival mailing list I think he would like it it is all about Urban biodiversity and our festival on that theme this june and various plantings around the town

email me


Jan 05, 2023

Go, Chris!! I'm interested in developing a teeny pond, so look forward to seeing how to go about it.

Paul Miskin
Paul Miskin
Jan 08, 2023
Replying to

yes pond fascinating.... hoverfly lagoons?

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