We are increasingly being encouraged to make our gardens wildlife-friendly and the introduction of a log pile is a huge step in the right direction if you want to support and invite local wildlife into your garden. A wood pile is actually a miniature ecosystem, providing a home for anything from mice and toads to beetles and ladybirds. The inevitable damp conditions are perfect for various insects and if you drill a few holes into the ends of some logs then in warmer months you could find bees setting up home there too. Log piles near ponds are often home to frogs and newts, especially in winter when they are likely to choose it as the perfect hibernation pad. You can also make your wood pile suit your household. For the artistically-inclined, you can make this a feature in your garden, beautifully arranged with attractive woodland plants placed around it. For young families it can be a treasure trove of nature at its best, with plenty of opportunities for bug hunts and outdoor exploration.
The perfect tree to plant this autumn is an Acer rufinerve, a grey-budded snake bark maple. The three–five lobed leaves turn attractive shades of orange and yellow in autumn and a modest final size make this a great selection for those with restricted planting space.