Garden wildlife

by James Alexander-Sinclair

This garden teems with wildlife [...] we have birds a-go-go, the odd hedgehog and there is a grass snake in my compost heap that once sent a friend of mine into a gibbering swoon.

Spider on a webThis morning we went for a walk first thing as the sun rose through the autumn mist. The fields were heaving with young partridge, a small mouse looked impertinently at us from the compost heap, a flight of ducks got up from the pond and the trees were decorated with sparkly cobwebs. On the way back we stopped off to pick up some windfalls from beneath the apple trees, avoiding those already chewed by the fox and muntjac.

At lunchtime I sat outside and ate a piece of toast (with home-made apricot jam) and watched the ladybirds stumbling around like the bride's uncle at a wedding reception. I also wandered off to the vegetable garden and sneered at the caterpillars on the kale leaves.

And now, as I sit here in my office there is a large and noisy bee buzzing around the place - the door is open as the afternoon is sunny. For some extraordinary reason he seems to prefer to be in here amongst the paperclips and whatever gamma rays are emitted by computers rather than whizzing around making use of the last flowers.

Anyway, I tell you all this not only to entertain you with tales of my day but also to demonstrate the fact that this garden teems with wildlife. Apart from those mentioned we have birds a-go-go, the odd hedgehog and there is a grass snake in my compost heap that once sent a friend of mine into a gibbering swoon.

The reason for this nature ramble relates to a short piece I wrote in this month's Gardeners' World magazine. M'learned colleague Richard 'Bugman' Jones said that all gardens should remain untouched during autumn in order to preserve shelter for critters. I maintain that we are allowed to clear up the messier plants in order to stop our gardens looking like bits of derelict bombsite for part of the year.

I just thought it would be good to state that I am not anti-wildlife, just pro gardens. I welcome all creatures great and small. Except rabbits. And maybe the next door neighbour's cat.

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Gardeners' World Web User 11/10/2010 at 14:22

James, derelict bomb-sites are actually very good for wildlife.

Gardeners' World Web User 11/10/2010 at 20:33

How about a compromise, guys? Everyone has a area that is sort of ignored. Cut and trim all you want, but move the trimmings to that unused area for the winter. Works for us...

Gardeners' World Web User 12/10/2010 at 09:05

Of course gardens are good for wildlife - the bees would be in an even more sorry state than they are in now if it wasn't for the nectar they get from our flowering plants. They have to be chosen with care and looked after to give a good show and lotsof nectar and pollen, in short cultivated which is what gardening is all about. Personally I would feel very lonely in my large grden without the wildlife. The robin babies even come and sit on my dresser in among the ornaments in the spring. I live in a garden with a house attached rather than the other way round.

Gardeners' World Web User 12/10/2010 at 16:13

I am very pleased to say i have had many bees,butterflies,birds,ladybugs,spider's and many more insects in my garden this year i do keep old logs for insects to live and a wildlife area and i agree with happymarion i too live in a garden with house attached.God bless gardens.

Gardeners' World Web User 12/10/2010 at 19:43

We have just cut down some overgrown Lleylandi, and with the help of two eager grandchildren, Charlie 9 and Molly 6 we have built a log pile at the back of a border. Each time they visit the first port of call is the garden to see what insects have moved in.

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