Everything in my Shropshire garden over the last couple of weeks has been completely dominated by water. Rain, flooding and saturated ground has made it difficult to do anything constructive outside and has severely restricted any travelling. It has though brought many smaller birds flocking to the garden, especially tits, nuthatches and at least one treecreeper. Marsh and coal tits have been very active, taking sunflower seeds to cache for later in the winter. The small feeding tray I use outside the back door has food placed on it every few hours, but I have to keep my eyes open for the local grey squirrels who will devour the whole lot in a few minutes. Lack of natural food after such a poor summer is very apparent, with even the squirrels taking the apples from our trees and eating them there and then.
We have also been lucky here in the last couple of weeks to see both a stoat and a weasel around in the garden, the latter popping in and out of the mole runs and the log store. But although the wet weather has brought a few less usual visitors, hopefully as we move into December the wet and windy weather will make way for something more settled and dry.
Jenny Steel was a Plant Ecologist at Oxford University before becoming a writer. She has more than 20 years experience of writing about and teaching ecology, natural history and wildlife gardening. She is also a photographer, journalist and former plant nursery owner, and a lecturer and tutor in adult education. She has appeared on a variety of radio and television programmes including Gardener’s World with Alan Titchmarsh, and she presented a series of items on the BBC 2 gardening show, How Does Your Garden Grow. She has worked with and written for a variety of organisations including the Royal Horticultural Society, Natural England, Atropos, Ernest Charles, the Adult Residential Colleges Association (ARCA), Haiths, Usborne Books, Complete Gardens, Oxfordshire County Council, the charity Growing Native and several of the Wildlife Trusts. She is also the Garden Bird Guru for the wild bird food company JustAddBirds of which she was a co-founder. The Emmy Award winning film company Panache Productions are currently making a film about her wildlife garden in South Shropshire. She has written 10 books on wildlife gardening. Her website can be found at www.wildlife-gardening.co.uk and her bird food company at www.JustAddBirds.co.uk
What a wonderful wildlife garden you have created Jenny, such a diversity of wildlife. You can be proud of what a great achievement this is, to know that so many birds and animals are happy to be there. It must give you a very special feeling. Very well done, SN