We have been offered the use of the walled garden outside our kitchen window. This is in addition to the large courtyard we already use and the garden, on a nearby farm, where we grow vegetables.
There is our little house, behind the magnolia tree. You can just make out the greenhouse on the right hand side.
It’s a slightly odd situation; the garden belongs to the landlord and our house, which was once a stable block and is now a cosy cottage, sits at the end of that garden. We can access the garden either through a door in the long drive way, or we can climb out of the bedroom window. Since the windows are very low, climbing out of them presents no problem so, unless we need to move a lot of tools, that will probably be the way we go.
Although the garden is currently neglected, I’m excited about the prospect of being able to use it. Firstly, there is a huge magnolia tree close to the kitchen window which has several bird feeders hanging from the branches. These have been empty since we moved in, but I took the opportunity to fill them today and was delighted to see blue tits and finches coming down within minutes. Blackbirds and dunnocks also frequent the garden so I shall put some food on the ground as well, since the blackbirds and dunnocks prefer to eat at ground level.
The resident robin roosts in the garden too - I discovered this because, when the bells ring in the nearby church, it wakes up and sings into the darkness for a short time. We often hear it singing while we’re having dinner and it always makes me smile to think of it being so close by.
Close to the magnolia tree is an unkempt Lonicera nitida and, if you watch this shrub at dawn, you can see, one by one, the swift exit of the small birds who have spent the night in its sheltering tangle of narrow stems.
On having a closer look around, I came across a tiny pond in one corner. This is a bonus as it will attract more birds, though it lacks a ramp for any small creatures that might fall in. That will soon be remedied, even though I’m not sure how many access points there are to the garden for wildlife other than birds. You can bet I’ll be paying more attention from now on.
For me, the icing on the cake comes in two forms. One is a good-sized, sturdy greenhouse (we can grow more chillies than ever) and the other is a south-facing, eight foot high stone wall, which says ‘peaches’. A slight complication is that because the garden is popular with birds, they will probably get to the peaches first.