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Miranda Hodgson

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A window opens to a garden full of birds

Posted by Miranda Hodgson on 27 Feb 2010 at 04:59 PM

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.


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on 27 Feb 2010 at 08:57 PM

richardpeeej said:

wow Miranda growing some peaches sounds like you are in for a juicy time. Thanks for telling us about this. I can see you trying some of those with a scoop of icecream in the summertime. It sounds as though you may be busy with your new piece of ground!

on 27 Feb 2010 at 11:26 PM

pushkin said:

How lovely for you Miranda.  It looks exactly what will suit you, would you espalier the peach tree?  I'm so pleased for you both.

on 28 Feb 2010 at 03:35 AM

Dawn Isaac said:

I'd love a walled garden - these days it's a rarity with the addiction to the cheaper, but less face it, far less exciting fence.  Am very jealous - and looking forward to hearing more about it.

on 28 Feb 2010 at 09:17 AM

EvaInNL said:

Congratulations Miranda! You'll need a full-time gardener soon if you keep getting new plots of land! I volunteer, payment in peaches, chilis and 3 cup chicken, please! :o)

on 28 Feb 2010 at 09:25 AM

Miranda Hodgson said:

Thanks everyone! You're welcome, Eva - Three Cup Chicken and all.

It will be a big job to tidy the garden up, but after that it shouldn't be too tough to keep it neat. I'm keen to see if any birds nest there this spring, so will have to get the tidy up done promptly, before they get going on nest building.

on 28 Feb 2010 at 12:11 PM

Susiq said:

Looks fantastic Miranda, I'm sure you will have it looking brilliant in quite a short time knowing you. You must take loadsa pics and let us follow progress!

on 28 Feb 2010 at 04:01 PM

David Benson said:

Look loverly! Bet you will be glad when summer comes having survived such a long winter. Save me a chilli (and a peach...) xx

on 28 Feb 2010 at 07:14 PM

Foxnfirefly said:

You are in a gardener's paradise, Miranda!  A clean slate to work with.  The south wall is a great opportunity for many fine fruiting plants and vines.  But this blog made the song "SheCame in Through the Bathroom Window" play over and over in my head!!!

on 28 Feb 2010 at 10:16 PM

Miranda Hodgson said:

David, I'll save you a whole plant full of chillies if they do well!

Thanks, Foxn. I'm glad I don't know that song, at least I avoided the earworm!

on 02 Mar 2010 at 06:42 PM

Liam Mooney said:

An interesting project to do in my garden.

on 03 Mar 2010 at 10:44 AM

BB said:

Wow - how exciting Miranda! I'm sure you'll have it looking wonderful and highly productive in no time at all. Good Luck!

on 04 Mar 2010 at 10:05 AM

Miranda Hodgson said:

Thanks, Liam and BB. I started work in there yesterday and it's all very interesting!

on 05 Mar 2010 at 11:11 AM

hyacinth said:

good news, Miranda! I know how long you've had your eye on that garden

netting the peaches will look unsightly but it will work :-)

on 07 Apr 2010 at 12:01 PM