This autumn I was busy pruning back some of the bushes at the bottom of the garden and hacking back some of the branches on the overhanging sycamores. I've kept many of the small branches and larger twigs for pea sticks and supporting canes for the coming year but what to do with the thicker branches? I decided to stack them up against the back fence while I thought about it and the initial log pile was somewhat modest.
It then occurred to me that they could serve a useful purpose over the winter as a hibernaculum, so I carried on adding logs and branches and then some of the fallen sycamore leaves that usually cover the garden at this time of year. It now looks quite impressive.
Am I am going to do anything else with it next year? Possibly. As I was finishing the log and leaf pile I came across an article on building a Hugekultur bed (How to Build Irrigation-Free Raised Beds with Hugelkultur http://www.treehugger.com/sustainable-agriculture/how-build-irrigation-free-raised-beds-hugelkultur.html). Hugelkultur beds can be as large or as small as you want (How to Build Hugelkultur Irrigation-Free Raised Bed Gardens (Video) http://www.treehugger.com/lawn-garden/how-to-build-hugelkultur-irrigation-free-raised-bed-gardens-video.html). This looks as though it could be the perfect solution to the problem of disposing of the wood and to making a small problem area of my garden suitable for planting.
Construction is planned for late spring. In the meantime any wild life that would like to use the log and leaf pile as a snug, hideaway over winter are more than welcome. Perhaps I should put up a sign: Winter hidey-holes available - rent free!