Thursday, 17 May 2007

Why Bother?

Whenever I am asked the reason why I have spent so much time and energy in creating a garden for wildlife, I have no hesitation in explaining why the matter is so close to my heart and what has motivated me. I have been interested in natural history from a very young age and have been a member of the RSPB and the WWF for 40 years now. Our boys were members of the Young Ornithologists Club, which became RSPB Wildlife Explorers

I’m sure we are all aware that due to an ever-increasing population, more and more hectares of land are being used to build houses, resulting in loss of habitat for wildlife. Therefore, what we do with our own individual garden is of vital importance, both to us and to the environment, for I firmly believe we are the stewards of the earth.

This, in effect, is the raison d’etre for the creation of our garden at Barleycorn. We wanted to make a difference, to provide homes for some of the wildlife in the area around where we live, through the creation of ponds, the planting of deciduous trees and in the provision of nectar borders.
Over the sixteen years we have been here, we have witnessed several farm ponds being drained, hedges being ripped out to allow the crops to be sown right up to the edges of the fields, healthy trees being excavated and large tracts of the countryside being given over to plantations of evergreens, with only a few deciduous trees planted at the roadside as a token gesture to wildlife.
To help counteract these losses, the wonderful thing is that we can all make a difference through our own little patch, whether it consists of a single window-box, or is not much more than the size of a postage stamp, or is of some considerable size, or is somewhere in between. It is widely accepted that having gardens in which to grow flowers and plants connects us with nature and the earth. They awaken our senses and feed our souls, as well as creating little havens for wildlife. There is no better legacy to leave to our children and grandchildren, and we will have made our mark and left the world a better place.
I live for those who love me,
Whose hearts are kind and true,
For the heaven that lies above me,
And awaits my spirit too,
For all human ties that bind me,
For the task that God assigned me,
For the loved ones left behind me,
And the good that I can do.


martin said...

Bravo !. I love what you are doing. The bit about the ponds being drained and the hedges being pulled up is a disgrace. The whole face of the countryside is being changed, and for what ?. You go to Sainsbury's and all the veg comes from abroad..... madness.
I will be arond soon for he glass of wine.

A wildlife gardener said...

Welcome, Martin! Long time no see! I agree, we do need to get back to basics and appreciate the simple things in life...I feel a song coming on...'The best things in life are free...'

Please come and join us for a glass of wine...or will we see you at the Chelsea Flower Show, or when we visit the Tate, when we are in London next week?

meggie said...

I smiled when I saw the little hedgehog. They are not here in Australia, but someone long ago must have introduced them to New Zealand, & we used to find them in our scrap holes in our garden. We always took them out, &laughed at the way the curled into the little prickly ball to protect themselves. We did know they would sneak the chook eggs & eat them if they could, but our nest boxes were wellbuilt, & they never invaded them.

A wildlife gardener said...

Hello again, meggie, and welcome. They are invaluable in my garden as they gobble up slugs and snails.

Mark said...

I couldn't agree more with you, everthing is getting squeezed out and relocated,(there is only so many places to relocate animals)we all need to do our bit to protect what is left.

Cheers Mark

A wildlife gardener said...

I do feel positive though, Mark, because there is so much 'green and pleasant land' in our back yards when you see aerial photos of the countryside. So, if everyone creates a little haven for wildlife, we could rehome lots of it...

Thalia said...

Dear Wildlife gardener,

I think your garden is so unique precisely because of the care you show not just for the plants but also for the other forms of life that depend on them.

I have also wanted a garden ever since I was a child, and wanted to grow it for the birds, insects and animals more than for myself. I haven't been able to do it yet (owing to lack of space), but I shall follow your example and I hope to accomplish it sooner than later.

I have actually got a few potted plants for my house and have been tending to them for a few days now, (inspired by you, of course) :-) I am delighted to say that the flowers have been attracting beautiful butterflies everyday since a week now! Isn't that lovely?

A wildlife gardener said...

Welcome, dear Thalia, and thank you once again for your wonderfully encouraging comments.

I do believe that your dream of having your own garden will happen...and in the not too distant future.

A few potted plants for only a week and yet you have managed to attract wonderful! I can feel your joy and wonder....maybe you will have a butterfly farm and help to re-introduce endangered species to their natural habitats. i wish you well, dear friend.

Karen said...

What you've created, and what is continuing to evolve, is of immense importance, both on an individual and a general scale, so I applaud you.
And you're going to Chelsea - lucky people!

A wildlife gardener said...

Thanks, Karen. I appreciate your warm comments. Yes, we are going to Chelsea. It's four years since we've been so we're looking forward to spending two days at the show. We were never able to go when we were employed, but retirement brings its joys...

Sheila said...

Your beautiful garden was and is a labour of love. You make some very valid points. I live in Canada, and in a country as vast as this, where there are millions of sq. miles of land, we see farmer's fields bought up, and built on, and the city encroaching on us more and more.
I'm not a great gardener, but what I lack in skill I make up for with enthusisam, and love to plant trees and flowers to encourage wildlife.
Have fun at Chelsea...if you see Alan Tirchmarsh, give him a hug from me...LOL
I look forward to pictures...!!

Christa said...

Beautifully said, and I absolutely agree with you. We all can do our part to help wildlife, even on a small bit of land.

I like your pictures of the frogs!

A wildlife gardener said...

Welcome, Sheila, and thank you for the lovely comments about our garden. You are correct in saying it is a labour of love, established when we were still physically able to do heavy tasks.

Titchie's a friendly soul, isn't he? All being well, I shall post the pictures on my photo travel blog.

Welcome, Christa, and thank you for introducing yourself and for your positive feedback. If you care to scroll back to the 25 and 26 March on this blog, you can see videos of the frogs at mating time here at Barleycorn, and on 25 March on my photo blog you can see lots of frog pictures.

shirl said...

Hi Wildlife Gardener

Yes I agree. We can all do our bit to help wildlife and birds to thrive – even with a window box or on a balcony with pots. Giving back something to the land that we all rely on makes perfect sense to me too. We need to protect what we have by caring for it now and encouraging our children to do so too.

Your garden should inspire many gardeners old and new! I hope you get even more inspiration yourself at Chelsea.

Enjoy your trip and I hope the weather is kind to you. It was raining when I went 11 years ago but it didn’t dampen our spirits. It is a lovely experience and I am looking forward to watching it all on TV this year. I wonder if any of the gardens will pay tribute to the late Christopher Lloyd – I hope so.

A wildlife gardener said...

Hi, shirl! It's hammering down here today...for the umpteenth day in succession, but, as you say, the rain won't dampen our spirits at Chelsea. Thank you for your comments and for your good wishes.

martin said...

WLG Let me know when you are in town, and if I am not working it would be nice to meet for coffee.

Kate said...

Your pictures, as always, are beautiful and fraught with meaning. I love the way you've created this beautiful world around you...

Have a lovely weekend, Kate ox

Sally said...

Beautiful! Just - beautiful!

A wildlife gardener said...

Hello, Martin. Thanks for the kind invitation. It would be great fun to meet up for coffee.

You are so gracious, Kate and I thank you very much for your good wishes.

Thank you very much, Sally. It's been great fun and we have a feeling of satisfaction that we've helped the wildlife to feel welcome to come and go as they please.

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

Lovely lovely photos, thoughts and comments! I live in farming country, every fence row is being cleared to plant more corn which is being used to make ethanol, I am not so sure it is a good idea, the resources that are being used to manufacture ethanol is mind boggling.

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Excellent post WG! This is exactly why I garden too. It is heartbreaking to see what the human race is doing with our beloved planet. So we at Bliss try to do our bit too and create a little haven for all the wildlife that is still out there and to make this world a little better. It needs all the help it can get!

Libbys Blog said...

Lovely post and so true! We have seen the same happen round here! Lucky you going to Chelsea, I would love to go one day!

A wildlife gardener said...

Hello again, IGW. Thanks for revisiting our little corner of paradise and for your very generous comments. The countryside is being gobbled up right in front of our eyes. We need to do our little bit to combat all the destruction.

Welcome, Yolanda Elizabet. I think we are very much in agreement here. We gardeners must stick together to do our bit for the planet. The lovely thing is that it's fun to do and we are well rewarded for our efforts.

Hello, libby, and a warm welcome to you. It's happening all over, isn't it?

Re Chelsea. I hope to post photos of the gardens in my travel blog when we return.

smilnsigh said...

Beautiful entry, in all ways.


A wildlife gardener said...

Thank you very much, smilnsigh. you are very kind.

Green thumb said...

So true and touching dear W.G. You are bang on in suggesting that howsoever limited our resources may be, we still can do our bit in preserving our so precious wildlife.
Thanks W.G for inspiring me. Next time, as I tend to my garden, I'll do it with elevated pride, knowing that I am contibuting in my own way in preserving our natural heritage.

Bimbimbie said...

There are many amongst us who forget we are part of nature and have the ability to interact positively all it takes is a bowl of water, a handful of seed a plant or two to make a start *!*

Britt-Arnhild said...

This is so beautifully written. Your love of your garden and of all creation is an inspiration for me. Goods to know that there are kindered spirits around.

guild_rez said...

Gardening is any way that humans and nature come together
with the intent of creating beauty.
cheers from Canada

A wildlife gardener said...

Hello and welcome to our little corner of paradise.

Green thumb, you have to battle with the most tremendously high temperatures as you garden, so I take my hat off to salute your wonderful efforts.

Bimbimbie, I so agree with you. A little step is all it takes.

Thank you for your encouraging words, britt-arnhild. I, too, think of all my fellow gardeners as my kindred spirits.

You are so right, guild_rez. What a good maxim.