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Home to Roost

Tempting them in

Food!

Not just birds?

Predators - a problem

Ponds and water

Visitors

My garden plan

Plants in my garden

Trees I planted

How I started

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Technical Details

Photo Gallery

The kiss of the sun for pardon
The song of the birds for mirth
One is nearer God‘s heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth.
Admission Number 1
Clematis ChinookI'll admit freely that I am no gardener. Things grow despite what I do not because of what I do! I couldn't tell the difference between a Galanthus and an Impatients (well, alright, I can now but only after reading up a fair bit on the subject).

That's not to say I don't have a great interest in what I do in the garden. I plant a lot of seedlings and flowers, the occasional tree and wild flower seed. It all grows, one way or another. I water copiously when needed and pull up the weeds and grasses that get into every container I have, mainly because the birds flick their seeds far and wide.

Tip: hold your mouse over the photos for their name to appear.
Admission Number 2
I've had a lot of luck. Things I've planted have given me a return on my labours far in excess of what I expected.

French MarigoldsFor example, I planted some French Marigolds that I bought as pot grown seedlings from the local garden centre into my patio tubs; they flowered for months and months during Summer 2003. I watered them and dead-headed them and they just kept flowering. I've only just found out that they are considered hardy annuals and won't come back this year. Oh well, back down to the garden centre...

Dead heading? This means removing faded and dead flowers, ideally before the plant has had a chance to set seed. The plants then thinks "Oh dear, my flower has been eaten by a Yak, I'd better produce some more flowers so I will eventually have some seed to set". So you trick the flower into producing more and more flowers. Lovely idea!
Things I've planted
First and foremost, I planted seed packets of "wild flower mixed". This can mean anything but may be subdivided into plants that attract butterflies and bees, or insects (on which the birds then feed) or are just described as "Country Garden". Any of the following may appear in these usually very easy to grow packets: Poppy, Hollyhock, Cornflower, Aster, Lupin, Sunflower, White Campion, Charlock, Forget-me-not, wild Pansy and many more. In some ways it's best to look at the picture on the seed packet and see whether you like the look of the flowers. Put taller mixes as the back of any border or pation container, with the shorter ones at the front.

Sunflowers are best grown on their own, as they can be very tall and can take over a small area. This year I'm planting two species of sunflower: Claret F1 Hybrid and The Bees Knees F1 Hybrid, both of which are hardy annuals (see sidebar for explanation).

Fuchsia Lady BoothbyMy tubs around the garden arch contain Fuchsia "Lady Boothby" and Jaminium diversifolium, both of which are climbers. They are starting to entwine themselves round the trellis of the garden archway, giving the birds a bit more cover. The Fuchsia will be trimmed down to 4" stems during February (they are not evergreen) but the Jasmine is still growing well, considering they were only planted in August 2003.

Brige of Sighs climbing roseThe other tub (on the opposite side of the archway) contains an evergreen climbing rose, "Bridge of Sighs" which never had a chance to get growing before the cold weather was on us, but has still managed to establish itself very well. This will be pruned in spring, ready for flowering in summer.

Next to the rose is a Clematis "Chinook" which is about the only thing in the garden that has not taken hold, despite its excellent write up. If it does not recover this spring after cutting back I'll ditch it and get a better, more hardy climber.

Lonicera Japonica Mint Crips (that's a Honeysuckle to you and me)On the fence I have a Honeysuckle, Lonicera Japonica "Mint Crisp", so named because of the pretty light green and white leaves, I imagine. It's barely got started at the moment but it's "near evergreen", fast growing and flowers continuously from June to October.

The idea is to get it to grow up, round and beyond the bird boxes we have there. It might just tempt a robin or blue-tit to nest there one year. See? Bird friendly gardening in practice!


Next page: the trees that I planted