Everything has it's beauty, but not everyone sees it. - Confucius
Sometimes the picture doesn't have to be perfect; it's the captured moment that counts. - me
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Friday, 17 April 2009

The garden.

Fancy a walk round the garden? It won’t take long, I’ve got bigger bed sheets, but it’s becoming a minor attraction for some of the local birds.

I’ve got a small house, in a fairly built up part of MK, and a garden with a size that matches. Fifteen foot wide, and about forty-four feet long. A few trees down the road I live in, and a two-minute walk to another busy road to my left. Along the edge of that, a twenty-foot wide tangle of trees and bushes. And beyond? The next estate, a playing field, and small wood.

To my right, more houses with small gardens, lead onwards towards a few shops, and a noisy pub. Years ago it was all fields and farmland, and much more wildlife friendly I’m sure. But this is now, so I make the best of what I’ve got.

The first twelve feet from the back door is slabbed, and some brick paving, which houses some embarrassing junk that desperately needs a skip for a home. And the rest?
Note the missing fence panels, which were torn down in the wind a few months ago, and not yet replaced by the owners. My decrepit shed, drunkenly leaning towards next door, and the lazy swing seat awaiting some sunshine. And two well stocked feeding stations. Swinging to the left, the Ivy, Clematis and Honeysuckle finally taking hold of my boundary fence.

Bottom left is the small ‘rockery’, next to the wildlife pond. I dug this out last August; it’s only about five feet by five feet, but the birds love it to bathe in, and it provides some good photo opportunities. I’m eagerly awaiting the Dragonflies this year, to see if they approve.

Not the smartest place to site it with hindsight, the falling leaves keeps me constantly busy, scooping them out. The narrow border escapes to the end of the garden, and the safety of the shrubs.

The ‘dark’ corner. I’ve no idea what this seven-foot deep area contains beyond the purple coloured Hebe. A mass of Ivy on the back fence, and a white flowering Hebe; but the rest is known only to the birds and Butterflies that frequent it. A mystery I’m happy to leave unsolved for the time being.

My bird species count since sighting the first feeding station last May, (and slowly adding to it, and providing some company in the shape of a second), stands at 19. Not a massive total I know, but considering that up until a couple of years ago they flew round my garden, not even over it, I’m happy.
My old deaf cat was the reason for that, but now she no longer feels the need to roam beyond the comfort of her chair, the birds have claimed my garden instead. From the noisy Starlings, to the latest new arrival, the Siskin, things are looking up. I even had a Black-headed Gull briefly drop in while I was digging out the pond last year.

I don’t know who was more surprised, him or me.


  1. You have a beautiful yard! I love all that plant growth on the fence and you have a very nice pond! I can see why the birds love it!

  2. That's how a garden should look, Keith.

  3. Your garden looks like a nice retreat, Keith. I really like the fence covered in climbing plants and the feeders are great, they are both useful and decorative. The fact that your garden is not very large may be its advantage. We have a large garden and although I love the space, it's quite difficult to fill it and arrange it, everything is so expensive... But step by step it changes for better.

    PS One more interesting information on the Butterbur. You've written that the leaves grow quite large, and they were used years ago to wrap butter. Hence the name. In the Czech language the name of the Butterbur is "devětsil" - if translated into English, it means "nine strengths". It was believed that this plant had mighty curative quality, hence the name. :-)

  4. Oooh Keith, I did enjoy that. I love a good nose around! But how dare you pinch my shack, I mean shed, come to that you're welcome to it!! Actually, there is nothing wrong with yours in comparison to mine, the felt has blown off the roof of mine and the garden tools stick out the sides. The silliest bit is we still have a padlock on the door but you can just reach in one side and get stuff out! Luckily it's hidden behind a large bush at the furthest corner of the garden so I don't have to look at it, but it's a bone of contention and there are regular cries of 'When are you going to replace that darned shed' to which the reply is 'Oh, yes I must get round to it'!!
    That Honeysuckle is going to smell gorgeous and I'm so envious of the pond.
    Thanks for a lovely wander round.

  5. Well you beat me too it. Lots of natural habitats Keith including the pond - now that's one thing I don't have. A project for when I retire...ha, ha!
    Have a good weekend.

  6. I like it!..It has great privacy for a small garden!..at first I did think you had an outdoor Privey...ONLY KIDDIN..I love the rustic nature of it. There is a lot to be said for a small space. Today I had to mow 1 ACRE of grass..(ok weeds, but there is some grass in there) and I also dug up 2 heaping wheelbarrow loads of Prickly Pear Cactus out of that field prior to mowing it. So there is a ton of labor to a keeping a larger bit of ground!..You will be out birding whilst Im pulling weeds or trying to start the tempermental & ancient mower!

  7. Thanks Shellmo. Making that pond was one of the best things I've done in the garden. It's like a magnet for the birds.

  8. Thanks Graham. I sometimes wish it was bigger though :)

  9. Thank you Petra. It is nice to just sit in and relax in the summer months, swinging on the seat. ;)
    And thanks for the extra info on the Butterbur. Always so much to learn, I hope I never stop.

  10. ShySongbird, glad you enjoyed the wander round the garden. The glass fell out the window ages ago on mine, so I left it out, in case any birds fancied nesting in there. None yet, not even in the nest boxes. They only want me for the food. :)

  11. Thanks Frank. A pond is certainly worth the effort; even a small one.

  12. Thanks Dixxie. The shed does look a little strange, stuck down the bottom of the garden like that. :)
    I'd love a much bigger garden, an acre sounds just right, although I'm not so sure I'd enjoy all that mowing!

  13. I really enjoyed your garden Keith and thank you for the tour. As someone's already commented, having a large garden can become somewhat time consuming - so smaller is good in my book!

    I like your pond. Is it a shallow one? It's difficult to tell from the picture. And did you use a liner? I'd like to make a shallow one (already got a deepish one) in the hope the birds will use it as a bath etc.

    Ooops sorry for all the questions!

  14. Glad you enjoyed the tour Tricia. I suppose having a small garden does have some advantages; low maintenance.
    The pond is made from a thick butyl liner, and for the size I had, wasn't that expensive. The deepest part is probably about one and half foot in the middle, not ideal for fish, but then I wasn't having any anyway. I didn't make a very good job of doing a shelf round the edges, too hasty, but about a third of it to the front, is quite shallow so the birds can bathe in it. Covered the shallow part in gravel, a couple of handfuls of oxygenating plants, and voila!
    The birds do tend to knock the stones into the deep bit occasionally, so I have to rescue them with a net. (stones, not birds :) )
    Was all very easy to do really; the worst part was making that first cut in the liner.
    No turning back if you get that bit wrong ;)

  15. Keith,honestly everytime i see your creations i can not help myself to get envied of all these,why i don't have this skills like you do? keep it up!
    i wonder if you don't love flowers that much, just asking,lol.

  16. Thank you lolit, I appreciate your comments.
    The flowers should start making an appearnce in about a month, I hope. I haven't got the balance right yet from spring into summer :)