• Don't leave it!

    I'm delighted to welcome a guest writer to the team, someone whose wise words you might read in the nature notes section of The Guardian - Derek Niemann. He and his wife Sarah have a tiny garden partially shaded by a Sycamore tree from next door. It's a mixed blessing in autumn, as Derek reports:

    The heaviest showers this autumn came, not from the skies, but from that blessed Sycamore tree, whose giant leaves rained…

    • 28 Dec 2009
  • Christmas time, blankety blank and wine

    It's Christmas! So it's only right, surely, that we have a bit of a Christmassy theme to the blog today.

    Fans (or otherwise) of Sir Cliff Richard will have filled in the blankety blank in the title to have guessed our puckersome little topic of the day - mistletoe.

    And what a curiosity it is. It makes its own food through its simple, paired,evergreen leaves, but lives only up in trees, penetrating the bark…

    • 26 Dec 2009
  • Keeping tabs

    With the garden under 4 inches of snow (and then ice) this weekend, and the coldest daytime temperatures I've recorded in 7 years here, all wildlife gardening thoughts turned to that of some more supplementary food and ice-free water for the birds.

    Our went mealworms, and fatballs (including some with 'buggy bits' in!), and peanuts, and nyger seed. Oh, and some left-over flapjacks.And down came the Starlings in force…

    • 21 Dec 2009
  • Almost a partridge in a pear tree

    Don’t you just love it when something unexpected turns up in your garden (and I’m definitely talking wildlife here!). All of us have a fascination with the unusual, and certainly in my garden it will cause me to dash indoors urging whoever is present to get themselves out to see the latest visitor.

     I thought of this when I saw this elegant girl creeping about under the feeders in the garden outside the RSPB…

    • 18 Dec 2009
  • Home game

    Regular readers will know from my last blog I had an away game last week with some gentle lopping and topping in Graeme Walkers garden. This week it was time to catch up with the log jam of work in my own garden. Even better, Saturday was a nice day in which to get stuck in and I had the help and supervision of two keen and interested local ‘posties’! (How many of you know the folk law connections?)

    I first…

    • 16 Dec 2009
  • Signs of spring?

    Peering up at me from one of the shady flower beds today was a little surprise – my first Primrose flower of the season (right). Funny how that simple lemon-coloured flower, such a feature of ancient woodlands, can trigger such a little moment of pleasure. Perhaps it was as my mind ran away with the idea that here was a signal that spring is not too far away.

    Of course, it isn’t actually the case. All across the…

    • 14 Dec 2009
  • Fuchsia Feast

    For this entry, I'm delighted to hand over to Denise from wildaboutdevon.co.uk, who wrote to us with some of her ideas for gardening for wildlife:

    I am not a very talented gardener, but I always make the effort to grow something that will attract wildlife, and fuchsias certainly do that.

    It was beneath a fuchsia bush that I saw my first Elephant Hawkmoth caterpillar. It’s a large caterpillar (some grow to over 10cm…

    • 11 Dec 2009
  • Garden away day

    Last weekend, I had the pleasure of staying with my good friends the Walker’s (or was it they had the misfortune of having to put up with me?).

    Their garden is a comfortable enough size to be manageable around a busy life. They have a good number of birds come to visit, from the commoner blue and great tit, blackbird, greenfinch and chaffinch to the exciting coal tit (sorry but I luv coal tits!), as well as reed…

    • 9 Dec 2009
  • Dull and brown? I think not!

    After their usual summer break from my garden, the Dunnocks are back in! From about May to November, both they and my Robins go AWOL, and no matter what I do in my garden, it is only a fraction of the area they need for a breeding territory and they know they’re better off somewhere out in the countryside or in the shrubberies of the local park.

    For a bird whose name means ‘little brown thing’, I think they’re actually…

    • 7 Dec 2009
  • Seeing red

    Every time I gaze out of the window at the forlorn damp garden outside, I can’t help thinking about what I’m going to plant next year.

    One flower I grew for the first time this year and blew me away was the one I’m trying hard to hide behind in the little picture of me that accompanies the blog (“Try harder next time!” I hear you cry). I’ve yet to fully prove its worth for wildlife, but I’m sure going to…

    • 4 Dec 2009
  • Year round gardening

    For many, the garden in winter is a no go area, shut away behind closed doors until the sun comes out again! However, one only has to read your Homes for Wildlife Forum posts to see the many things that can still be done if only there was enough daylight to do it!

    At this time of year, with the short days, there is no time during the week to get anything done in the garden. It all hinges on trying to squeeze what one…

    • 1 Dec 2009