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Sunday, 7 September 2014

The garden is a doorway

An entry and sketch in my Daily Garden Journal

To me, the garden is a doorway to other worlds; one of them, of course, is the world of birds. The garden is their dinner table, bursting with bugs and worms and succulent berries.

I started putting up bird feeders here in my new garden about seven years ago, a tradition I carried forward from when we left our other smallholding where we had lived for twenty-seven years.  Putting up bird feeders has taught me one thing - it's a life-long commitment because the birds soon become dependant on this source of food, especially in winter.

Olive Thrush enjoying some apple on one of the bird feeders

For me going on holiday means major organisation - I have to leave someone in charge of feeding all the animals - the hedgehogs, the tortoise, the ducks and geese, the chickens and, last but not least, the garden birds.

The Olive thrush joined by its mate

Water is an integral part of the garden, for residents as well as weary travellers. I have some shallow containers for bathing, which is a daily routine for residents, and some deeper bird baths for drinking, where I often see non-residents having a long drink before continuing on their journey.

Of course, planting indigenous is a great way to offer natural food to the birds and insects and is a great life-saver for birds and insects. The Kniphofia above (Red Hot Poker) offers sustenance to nectar feeders like Sunbirds as well as many insects.

Indigenous trees like the Black Karee (Rhus lancea) offers hiding place for many insects, a great snack for all the birds, and carries lovely berries which all the birds seem to love. A warning though, the berries/seeds drop in their thousands and it's not long before you have enough seedlings to stock a nursery!

Leaving an area in you garden for natural, indigenous grasses to grow provides seeds and shelter for an array of wildlife - this area is home to many insects, spiders, lizards, small snakes, scorpions and many others that find a safe haven here.

Utilising cut-down trees and placing the logs in your garden also provides cover and safety for many insects. Making a log pile in an undisturbed corner away from normal garden traffic is also a great way of encouraging wildlife to your garden.

Photo by Claire Butler


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