Category Back garden blog

#ThumbnailNature – Oh Alexanders!

While I’m fond of you, frankly my dear Alexanders, you smell terrible. Spring has brought your tiny stinky sulphur flowers with lavish curls & deely bopper stamens. An aphid languidly waves antennae under my scrutiny, lumbers through the flowering umbel & then plays peekaboo behind the juicy trunk of a stem.

#ThumbnailNature – Someone’s been busy in the pond…

I heard a splash, my daughter says, as she opens the backdoor. There’s a sumptuous heap of spawn in the middle of our pond. Now why have I just started thinking about bubble tea, I say, and she makes an ugghhh face, but leaves with a smile. Little things.

A moment to think about feathers… just wow.

Finding a blue feather from a jay’s wing is like finding treasure – I’ve had one in my wallet for a couple of months now. If the feather’s gorgeous blue wasn’t enough, then looking at the structure through a hand lens is extraordinary. Tiny hooklets, on barbules, on barbs, on a quill, rachis or shaft […]

Will they ever learn?

Three parakeets eating crab apples. Peck, spit, peck, spit. Maybe this bit will be nicer? Or this bit? Or even this bit? Or perhaps this one? Or that one? Or the one over there? Now look you lot. They’re sour goddammit. They’re always going to be sour. GIVE. IT. UP.

Suburban High Noon (#ThumbnailNature)

Suburban high noon. Grass alleyway between garden fences. At one end, a fox. At the other, two crows forage all casual-like, their nest in a sycamore overhead.  Fox inches forward. Stops. Starts. Watched every step. Nah, not worth it mate. He turns and lopes away. I breathe out gently.

26th July 2021 – Love a crow

Crows nest in the wood opposite our house but this year a pair choose one of the oak trees in our communal garden. From our back bedroom window I can see them building their nest as the leaves aren’t properly out. That nest soon disappears into the green. There’s not much evidence of them, or […]

11th May 2021 – what’re you lookin’ at?

There’s been at least one youth hanging out in our back garden for the last few days. I’m amazed these feisty but fragile-looking bundles of fluff survived last week’s storm. Or perhaps they didn’t and there is a fresh batch of robin fledglings coming to the garden every day. Either way, these young ones already […]

15th February 2021 – an addition to my suburban garden bird-list

I blame Stephen Moss – writer, birder and all round nice guy – for getting me started on compiling a garden bird-list. After reading his latest garden bird in the Somerset Levels, I sat down with a cuppa one morning to remember everything we’d ever seen in our five by six metre suburban back garden […]

23rd November 2019 – Back garden blog – texture

Our back garden is all about texture at this time of year. Stripped of a season’s green frivolity, its skin is revealed. In one corner sprawls a youthful crab apple.  The bark still gleams in patches but shallow splits are forming down the main trunk. The brittle curling edges of each split are dusted with […]

18th October 2019 – Back garden blog – tapping

It has been relentlessly wet almost since the start of October. Over the last few days at home, I have been distracted at intervals by the sound of gentle tapping at different windows.  This afternoon, a blue tit and then a dunnock sat on the windowsill at the upstairs window less than a metre from […]