My Garden and Other Animals

I’ve been reading Mike Dilger’s wonderful account of buying a new home and creating his own garden wildlife sanctuary in ‘My Garden and Other Animals’.

Dilger and his partner Christina bought the ex-council house largely because of the garden’s potential for wildlife, and so began a year long adventure where trees and nectar rich perennials were planted, and back breaking undertaken in the form of digging a new pond and creating a raised vegetable end from sleepers, amongst numerous other tasks.

The story is told in Dilger’s accessible, warm and often humorous prose which made me care about the garden and its wild inhabitants immediately. I would definitely recommend the book to all wildlife enthusiasts out there

The book got me thinking about my own garden and my aim of transforming it into a mini nature reserve. Inspired by Mike and Christina’s hands-on approach, I made a list of the area that I want to develop this year.
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1) Install a second camera-either in a sparrow nest box or creating a small mammal cam as inspired by Wildlife Kate and Widlife Gadgetman.
2) Move the current pond to an area which will allow me to add more edging plants and a wider variety of habitats
3) Create an open compost heap – at the moment my compost is in a plastic bin, which allows little movement in and out for wildlife
4) Build a larger bug hotel – something that my goddaughter is hopefully going to help me with
5) Plant at least one more tree to provide more cover for birds
6) Open up space under the gate again for hedgehogs – I recently installed a new gate which hasn’t got the gaps that my older, rather battered gate had!
7) Create a wildflower patch to encourage butterflies and other invertebrates

This is just the beginning of my list and I plan to add more as the year goes on. Let’s hope it’s a fine spring and summer to allow plenty of gardenimg hours!

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