It’s raining outside, softly, gently and I’m entranced by our garden. Droplets of water have settled in a line beneath the pergola; shining like crazy diamonds they are defying gravity and refusing to fall. They are mesmerising in their stillness.
The bare branches of the weeping birch begin to stir in the breeze that is whispering through the morning. They too are decorated with tiny, pinpricks of light rain that also refuse to fall and I smile at their tenacity.
The birch is a haven for wildlife. The blue tits, great tits, chaffinches, dunnocks and wrens love it. It’s a landing pad in the green corridor that our row of suburban gardens form, providing a safe place to feast on the myriad of insects that must be in there judging by the activity that goes on.
At a different level blackbirds hop off the fence and grub about in the soil, flipping over the remnants of last autumns leaves they tuck into the tasty morsels they are adept at finding and bounce across the lawn in their quest for more.
We haven’t intentionally attracted the birds into our garden, they have found their way in and they are very welcome. But now they have made our garden their home I find I am making choices that satisfy their needs as much as my own.
Yesterday we bought a hedge. We had dabbled with the idea of having a camellia hedge. Camellias can be clipped, they flower, they are evergreen and grow well in our north facing garden. But something was bugging us. For all their attributes they just didn’t seem to be the right choice so we opted for a beech hedge instead.
I love the way beech grows. The branches twist and turn beautifully and, even in winter it looks great, especially as it holds onto its honey coloured leaves, shedding them just before the fresh green ones appear in spring. Wildlife loves a beech hedge too. Birds are drawn to the tangle of branches to nest in and it is estimated that around ninety eight different types of insect choose beech as their habitat; its a glorious ecosystem that will surely enhance our garden.
So without further ado it’s time for me to don my wellies and get this hedge planted. I have a bundle of 25 bare rooted plants for a seven meter long border so I’ll plant them 30 cms apart. Staggering the plants will give the hedge a natural look. To increase the biodiversity I’ll be adding wild primroses with their pale yellow flowers and a few clusters of sweet, scented violets.