Monday, 1 November 2010

Pause And Reflect

Sunset At Barleycorn

October began with a few breathtakingly beautiful sunsets which made me pause and reflect upon the past 20 years we have spent in this paradise of ours. And though I have mentioned some of this before, many new bloggers will not have heard the reason why we came to be here. It was not the newly-built bungalow, pretty though it was, which caused me to turn the car and return for a second look.

Tractor and Baler

Rather, it was the adjacent barn with its high-pitched corrugated roof and crumbling stone walls which spoke to me. Its decay had a story to tell and I wanted to hear all about it. The more I gazed at it, the more I felt drawn to the bare patch of ground which was crying out for a steward to lovingly bring it to life, though, little did I expect that steward was to be me. I say steward on purpose, for we only hold the keys to our gardens for a time.

Seasons of Mist

My vision was to create a garden for wildlife where insects and birds and mammals would be encouraged to come and visit or, better still, live in harmony with us. The house is mostly hidden from the road by tall indigenous trees and shrubs, but, once you have walked down the long drive and turned a corner, it is like finding a secret garden.

Fairy Necklaces

Our two ponds are the jewel in the crown of the garden, for they attract all the wildlife which comes to drink and bathe and feast. At first they were empty except for a soup of green algae. Nowadays, however, they support a colony of frogs, toads and newts which live and breed in them and gorge themselves on the myriad of pondlife creatures.

Autumn leaves

The remainder of the garden is made up of many island beds which contain trees, shrubs and nectar borders to give sustenance to insects, butterflies, birds and our all-important bees. At this time of year everything is either wearing or shedding its wonderful Autumnal coat of colours and I find pleasure in the dying back of the season.

Joseph's Rock Rowan Tree

Now is the time to appreciate the bare bones of the garden - the trees and shrubs in silhouette; the fairy necklaces left by hundreds of the most amazing nocturnal architects of the garden; the magical change from green to yellow, red to bronze; humdrum paths carpeted with a bed of soft colourful leaves; ponds frozen in time or the drip, drip of trees whose frost is melting in the misty sunshine. What is not to enjoy?

Hosta Foliage

And did I mention the songs in the garden? Our frogs serenade us on sunny days with their deep croaking. The bird-feeders have become magnets to hungry birds and their many and varied songs waken me each dark morning. Best of all the thousands of Greylag Geese have returned from Greenland to overwinter on adjacent fields. Each morning I hear their cries and rush out of bed, like an excited child, to watch their magical arrows moving across the sky.

Pond lilies and Foliage

Skein after skein passes over our house and I watch the repeat performance each evening as they make their way back to the shores where they nestle down each night. I especially love their cries when they are invisible, flying through fog, calling out to one another for safety and guidance. How do they know where to go? We have all heard the explanation, but, it is still a wonder of Nature and a pleasure to behold.

Balloon Over Barleycorn

The balloons which fly overhead are so low we can call out and have little conversations with those in the basket. Visitors come from all over the globe. A few years ago some of our family took such a ride and flew over my garden and the village. It was a magical experience, though interesting when the wind took us down to land in a field with a herd of cows, instead of a fallow one adjacent to it.

A Tiny Shrew

Even after 20 years I am still amazed at the variety of wildlife living next door to me. Taz, the barn cat, brings us presents and leaves them on the doorstep... sometimes a Fieldmouse, sometimes a Vole, occasionally a little Shrew. Late at night we sometimes see or hear Foxy who comes by hoping to find some chicken carcass which Taz has left. On red-letter days we might even see a Weasel or a Stoat, a Barn Owl or a Tawny Owl, a Badger or Hedgehog crossing the road.

Taz, Asleep In The Sunshine

Everything is welcome for each plays its part in the magical web of life here at Barleycorn. Every creature brings the garden to life and fills my heart with pleasure, for, what was once a derelict plot of ground, has now been transformed into a garden for wildlife. I am living my dream and sharing it with all those who enjoy coming here to visit.

The first short video is called Autumn At Barleycorn. The accompanying music is Erik Satie's Gymnopedie No 1.

The second short video is called Fairy Magic At Barleycorn and the accompanying music is from A Midsummer Night's Dream. The track is Between The Cold Moon And The Earth.

The third video, much longer, is called Barleycorn Ode To Autumn. The accompanying music is Brahms' Violin Concerto in D Major-11 Adagio. I hope you enjoy them all. They were taken throughout October.

Align Centre


Michelle said...

Today your word pictures were even better than your camera ones, and they made me wish I could walk down your lane and find your secret garden. Knowing that you would welcome me with open arms should I ever be able to do that means the world to me!

Robert said...

We had a cat in Cornwall which brought similar presents. One day it brought in the only harvest mouse I've ever seen.

Ruth B. said...

It was very interesting to follow you around through your words and photos.
Have a nice day.

Cheryl said...

Dear Wildlife Gardener, firstly thank you so much for the beautiful detailed comment you left on my last post.

I love your writings, they speak to my heart. We take the same journey. I never ceased to be amazed or excited by wildlife.
Sometimes when I am in the garden, the tears fall, with the pure joy of being in touch with all that is around me.

A beautiful post....I sleep better knowing you are out there, taking care of all that lives close to you......and beyond.

Morning Glories in Round Rock said...

I identify with your thoughts of being a steward to the land that you call home. Being in touch with the land makes you realize the passage of time, and our portion in it. I think finding a place that has been established and worked by generations before is a gift--an inheritance. Adding your own touch to it makes another link in the chain of years, and gives you a feeling of continuity and connection to the past--and future.

Babara said...

I'm touched by the way you describe how you did find your personal beautiful paradise, the place and land where you live now. I can feel the deep love you have for everything around in your wonderful garden. A touching post!

Wendy said...

I found you via cheryl's blog. Looking at your pic of the sunset is what drew me here. I love how you describe your home - full of wonder and wildthings.

Thanks for sharing.

Jeanne said...

All is beautiful that you share my darling one.
I love you
Thanks for your golden gift of friendship.

I love you

Linda May said...

There is absolutely nothing humdrum about your barleycorn garden or you lovely rural lifestyle as it is recorded in your lovely blog. thank you for sharing it with me.

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