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I recently had the pleasure of meeting Europe’s smallest bird. I would have expected such an occasion to take place in a pine forest or a large rural garden, but this chance encounter occurred on a scrubby piece of park just behind the Hackney Road
Last week, Butterfly Conservation published a report called The State of Britain's Larger Moths 2013. It makes a depressing read, demonstrating a marked decline in the number of our larger moths over the last 40 years. The survey, conducted
easily access buildings• they carry Weil’s disease, which is potentially fatal to humansI paid close attention to my garden and realised I had to act when I spotted Ratty mopping up split niger seed from the bird feeders in broad daylight
. Undeterred, I thought I’d try something else for 2013: yew, Taxus baccata. I’m very fond of yew; I love seeing gnarled old trees in graveyards, exploring the patterns and fissures of their bark. Left alone, yews can grow for centuries. One specimen
-looking wreath, so foraged for holly and ivy stems in the park. I chose both mature (non-prickly) and juvenile (prickly) holly, to reduce the pain factor of making the wreath, and took a very small number of holly and ivy berries, leaving plenty for the birds
invertebrates to amphibians, hedgehogs and even birds. A stumpery is similar to a log pile, but you can have a bit more fun with it. It consists of upright logs half buried in the soil, allowing moss, lichen and fungi to grow. Some gardeners plant ferns
the birds, but also make a delicious ketchup.I won’t consider which fruit and vegetables I’ll grow just yet. Perhaps that’s a blog for another week.Which plants would you grow in your dream garden, and why?