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  • : The blog of Frank Beswick. It deals with my interests in religious, philosophical spiritual matters and horticulture/self-reliance
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January 22 2015 5 22 /01 /January /2015 15:18

We must never think of our gardens as places where the only life is us and our plants, with a few guest birds. Once you plant a garden you invite life in and it receives the invite gratefully. On my plot we have some welcome and not so welcome life.

First, the birds. You can never say which birds will arrive, but I can guarantee that when I dig the she-robin will arrive. I know it is a she because of the light breast, the male is the redder of the two. She likes to wait at a safe distance from me, and as I move on she pecks at the uncovered insects, and this is at whatever time of year I dig. There is also a wren who flits from soil to bushes with the swift darting flight so characteristic of her species. I have never seen her close up, even though she lives near my ground. The wood pigeons are beautiful, but they will strip the hearts from your brassicas unless you net them. An occasional visitor is thrush who pops in for a quick snack on insects, as is the blackbird; and the crows caw in the trees above us, but they are too cunning to come down when a human is around.

The wood pigeons' great enemy is the fox, whose earth is I know not where, but she oft visits my plot, lying stealthily in my neighbour's tall perennials and bushes until an unsuspecting wood pigeon lands too close. Then she takes her prey to one of my nice, soft raised beds on which she can dine in comfort. I say she. because I have seen her, sunning herself cheekily on a neighbour's plot. You can tell it is a she because of the thin tale. You can tell when she has visited because she leaves only white feathers, even the slender bones are crunched away.

My yearning to attract hedgehogs has not been very fruitful. I found a dead one, but that's small comfort, but when I gave it a decent burial the fox dug up the corpse. I had to put a slab on top of the grave of what was left. I also found a rat in my compost bin, probably eating some damaged windfall apples that I had thrown in. It is gone now. I am pretty certain that there are wood mice, as they have the habit of digging up newly planted peas, but you never see where they dwell. The grey squirrels from the trees on the lane outside have a habit of arriving on some plots, but I find that netting keeps them down. Dogs never get into the allotment, not being good climbers, and for some reason we never see cats, there is probably food for them elsewhere.

Wild bees are found. I recall once thinking that my fruit trees had set multitudinous blossom and wondering why I was so blessed. Then when moving some pallets I found bumble bees swarming round my legs. They were nesting under the pallets, and I knew why my fruit trees were so well pollinated! We also get honey bees, but in smaller numbers. The bees love to forage on my borage plants, whose blue blossom appeals greatly to their taste. And they swarm round it.

Insects abound on allotments, too many to count. Ladybirds are always welcome. But I as delighted to find that my new pond had attracted a water boatman. It must have been windblown to the site.

The world belongs to all the creatures in it, not just to humans. They all have their place in it, and as the garden is part of the world, there is place for more than humans in it.As long as we save the plants that we want, we need not complain about other creatures in the garden. They are not bound by human law against trespass.

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Derdriu Marriner 09/15/2017 16:06

Are the ladybirds introduced into or native to your area? Does your family have a resident hedgehog yet?

frankbeswick 09/15/2017 17:30

The ladybirds are native to the whole of Britain. We do not have resident hedgehogs, though we are trying to be hedgehog friendly, for hedgehogs have been in serious decline in Britain.