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This month Gardening Gone Wild has asked whether we considered wildlife when we designed out gardens.  Well the answer in my case is yes

The first priority for me when I acquired this garden and started to cultivate it about 4 years ago was a wildlife pond.  Removing a ridiculously large conifer conveniently left a substantial hole which we enlarged to make the pond.  It is constantly being used by the birds.  There is a gravel beach and the pigeon in particular like to strut down this for a quick dip in the water. Last month I worked really hard on improving the edges.  This has been a constant problem since the pond went in – mainly because of the wildlife.  The local Crows and Magpies loved the turf I used for edging the pond as it was wet and muddy and they took it for their nests.  Hopefully the new combination of old logs, rocks and turf will do the trick.  The rocks should definately provide hiding places for various frogs etc and maybe the slow worm I saw last summer will reappear.  

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Some people have said that they have adopted a slow form of gardening and this is more beneficial to wildlife as the garden isnt prestine.  Well I have so little time to garden that it appears as though I ‘slow’ garden.  The border above looks a little bare as I cleared it out when I was sorting out the pond edges. I am constantly trying to keep on top of the garden so there is always at least one if not more areas which are a mess but the wildlife are loving.

The bank behind the pond was only cleared of a large Laurel last summer.  I am planting the sunny bit up with lots of nectar rich plants for the insects and also teasels for the birds. 

The bird life in my garden is constantly growing and some of them are becoming more and more tame.  Every morning I go out to put some food on the bird table and there is either a Blackbird or a Robin waiting for me. I have posted before about feeding the birds and my ‘bottle tree’ – designed to keep the squirrels off the bird feeders.  Sometimes if I am late the Blackbird sits on the fence outside the kitchen waiting for me, telling me to hurry up.  Today he was stalking me round the garden, collecting worms where ever I had been digging.  As soon as I start working in the garden I seem to have a companion – which is really nice. 

My lawn is far from immaculate being full of moss, daisies and clover – I have given up trying to achieve the perfect lawn.  It is just too much like hard work and I would rather spend the time on something else in the garden.  However a plus side of this disgrace is that the insects love the daises and the clover and I am sure that most of the local birds have used some of the moss for their nests. 

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Like most gardeners I have compost bins – 3 at present.  However it seems that how ever many bins I have there isnt enough consequently the top corner of my garden is a mess.  I dont have a shredder so anything too woody for the compost bin goes in a pile but the fence.  My back fence is on a 2ft concrete base which is very unattractive so I have convinced myself that it looks much nicer with the twiggy bits piled up in front of it – plus these provide an excellent home for all sorts of insects and small mammals.  There are normally some small voles and mice living in the garden, particularly in the dry stone wall which sits behind the pond.

So that is my wildlife garden – I cant imagine not gardening without taking into account wildlife.