Logs in a naturalistic woodland garden

From time to time visitors to my garden ask in a puzzled way why I have logs in my ‘flower beds’ . I assume they are not used to naturalistic styles of gardening, so I try to explain: “Oh, It’s a woodland garden you see, and they enhance the naturalistic effect. These kind of plants would be seen with fallen branches in their natural habitat…”  Sometimes they nod in appreciation, other times they seem unconvinced… I wonder what you’ll think?… Here are some photos:

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In many ways logs are the most natural features of woodland settings. Whilst they often have interesting shapes and textures in their own right, they look particularly good as a backdrop for woodland plants, providing them with an anchor from which to grow. Also, they can help separate clumps that might otherwise merge. In winter they provide interest when many plants have died down; the remaining evergreens, bare earth and skeletal plant-remains have a zen-like beauty.

Real woodland floors are scattered with logs and fallen branches, which in time become hosts for a variety of life forms – insects, mosses, lichens and fungi. As they rot down they slowly release the nutrients that woodland plants need. They protect the soil from the sun, providing a cool root run for adjacent plants. My logs have spawned many different and interesting fungi. I have seen many different insects use them as sun station, and admired as creeping plants like violets and woodruff clamber up them to better reach the light.

For all these reasons, I like the logs in my woodland garden. I hope you do too.

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