Nature in the garden

by Richard Jones

There is a delicate balance between wanting to see nature in the garden, and suffering the consequences of its visits.

hedgehogThere is a delicate balance between wanting to see nature in the garden, and suffering the consequences of its visits. I am decidedly at the easy end of the spectrum, and all I have to worry about are a few dollops of fox faeces in return for close-up views of an often regal and handsome beast. In other East Dulwich streets they are less welcome, playing havoc with lawns, and digging holes with seemingly malicious abandon, presumably to get at worms, one of their major food items at this time of year.

Elsewhere gardeners fret over a superabundance of magpies, or sparrowhawks, choosing not to celebrate these wonderful birds’ beauty, poise or cunning, instead blaming them for decimating the local populations of blue tits and goldfinches. Yet further afield deer seem to be a particular problem; this is a very distant rumour for me though, none has yet made its way this far into the capital.

I’m not surprised that deer can be a right pest in the garden, elegant and beautiful though they are. For the last few decades, deer numbers have been increasing almost unchecked, and we now have more of them in the UK than at any other time in the last 1000 years. I just wonder what sort of comments this post would attract if I suggested reintroducing wolves might be the answer?

Perhaps there is another way. A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook that she had sourced a muntjac carcass from the National Trust, who occasionally cull them in Hatfield Forest. She was contemplating recipes with a gusto bordering on unseemliness: “That’ll teach them to eat our garden…” Revenge is sweet. Or, in this case, for her, savoury.

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Talkback: Nature in the garden
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rogerT2 30/11/2011 at 18:50

We have lots of goldfinches and today we were invaded by starlings after putting out a fat block. But where have the blackbirds gone to? We have none and usually have 2/3

Shilah 1 08/12/2011 at 22:15

it's been the same here in Devon ,but my MR & Mrs Blackbird are just coming back in the garden.

zara 10/12/2011 at 04:32

We have 2 wild rabbits that have been regularly visiting our garden during the last 9 months and they do a great job of edging the lawn.They have not done any damage to any of our plants.

Ron 10/12/2011 at 07:42

We find that chopped up apples keep Blackbirds from straying too far.

Botticelliwoman 10/12/2011 at 08:53

yesterday evening I was walking the dog across our cricket and football fields and there were blackbirds everywhere.  I don't think I've ever seen as many together.  The foraging must be better out there than in the garden!

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