Wildlife gardening and hedges

Hedges are another natural growth that are being destroyed like trees in the name of progress and new houses. In my previous home I had a large old hawthorn hedge separating my garden from the ones at the back. It was around 9 feet high, 3 feet deep and about 18 feet long. It was wonderful! The birds loved it and made nests in it and the chorus of their singing could be heard down the road. I miss it but I have compensations where I live now. I live in a block of flats, one of six and we have lots of grass around us and a stream running along the bottom. Many of the residents have tiny borders with flowers and shrubs and some grow veggies in pots and bags. I have a small patch of garden about 12 feet by 2 feet and this is good. I also have lots of pots and grow veggies in bags sitting on a pallet. This morning I saw a muntjac running along by the top of stream.

My aim with the garden patch was to attract bees and butterflies as well as dragonflies from a pond over the back. So plants were put in that attracted bees, verbena, rudbeckias, heleniums and many others. I also have spring bulbs and plants like cowslips. Last year it was buzzing with bees and a lot of different butterflies made visits. My son and I also took over a wild patch and planted it with wild flower seeds. It was good last year but promises even more this year.

You too can have some wild flowers or flowers that attract bees in your garden. But what if you only have a small patio or balcony. You would be surprised what you can grow in pots! You can also now buy packets of wild flower seeds and kits for planting which include pots and compost. Watching the bees and trying to identify them can give you great joy. There are many different bees but I like the buff tailed ones best.

If we are going to lose trees to housing developments (see previous blog) then we all need to do something to make sure we can provide places for the bees, butterflies and other insects. In a small garden you can also get frogs. Because I could not have a pond in my last place, I bought a small kit that came with a bowl, compost and a few plants. This did well and the birds loved it too.

What can you do to help the environment?

A chaotic world

All around are the signs of chaos. I am really shocked at what is going on around us. What happened to common sense and reasoned thought? You can’t just flip from one thing to another without hurting someone or something. There are so many important things going on in our world that need to be dealt with sooner rather than later or there will be no later. Yet people dance around each other thinking things are funny when so many people are suffering not just here in my country but elsewhere in the world. All life is suffering, trees, birds, insects etc are all in decline.

We have had extreme heat over the summer, now torrential rain has arrived. There are so many signs that our climate is changing yet nothing is happening to help us to find solutions. In fact, those in power are making things worse by allowing new coal mines, new oil and gas offshore drilling and fracking. When are people going to realise that we have to change the way we live, the way we build our homes and the way we travel, grow food etc. If we carry on as we are doing then in a few decades time we will all be gone.

I used to believe that spirit would not allow our world to disintegrate but I find it hard to believe that now. It comes back to hope. We have to have hope or we have nothing. I’m sure I wrote this last week but things have got much worse since then. Is what is happening a sign that all we know will disappear and a new world miraculously emerge? If so how do we help that new world to emerge? I remember writing that we could imagine a better world and keep that image foremost but I am beginning to feel that we need to do more. But what? Do you have any answers or suggestion?

Autumn Medley

The Autumn Equinox has already passed and October is here. There are definite signs of autumn around. As Keats put it ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’ and so there are mists in the morning and the hedgerows are full of berries and crab apples. However there are many who do not notice these changes in the seasons. They walk or drive around not noticing the wonderful colour changes in the leaves or the abundance of hedgerow fruits. I feel that this is one of the problems of today’s world. Many have lost that connection with nature which is so important.

I have a small patch of garden here where I live and a small patch of hard ground where I grew veggies in large bags sitting on a pallet. Last week I bought one of those storage boxes for the garden to store my bird food and gardening things. Yesterday I decided to sort out the veggie bags and put the old plants on the compost heap. There were no beans or peas to collect but the pot of carrots reaped more than expected and I have some lovely small carrots to eat. Having tidied up canes and string and pots I felt very happy and also felt something difficult to define having worked with the earth and with plants. I suppose you could call it a deep satisfaction. It put the rest of my feelings about our current situation into perspective.

Recent storms around the world and government decisions are a wake-up call. It is time to think deeply about how we live. Here we pay a service charge for communal lighting and water and also electricity for communal areas and use of the laundry. We have been asked to think about the use of the laundry and only to wash full loads.One of the things I find is that many wash clothes at too high a temperature. This may be linked to the fact that clothes were often boiled to get them clean.Nowadays, manmade fabrics can be washed at lower temperatures and are much better dried outside or inside on a clothes airer where they dry naturally.

There are many other ways of cutting down on energy use but I will leave them for you to think about. Life should be enjoyed and we could focus on the good things in our lives and I am sure there are many and not focus on the bad stuff. What we think about most will come to us later so it is better to be positive and look for the joy in our lives. Imagine the world you would like to see and feel that it is what is going to be. Keep seeing this world in your mind every day so that it manifests.

Moving onwards

When I was 60 years old I wondered if I would reach 70. 70 came along and passed and I wondered if I would reach 80. 80 came along and passed and now I am 81 and wonder if I just might reach 90. To do this some changes had to be made. I am an empath and pick up all kinds of positive and negative energy. I used to protect myself against it all but somehow in the last few years I had not done so and was feeling all the negative stuff that goes on in small communities like the one where I live. I decided to do something about this and now have some kind of protection when I am about. I also use my Ting-Sha to cleanse the energy in my flat and made sure all the crystals I have were cleansed and ready to use.

What a difference this has made but there were still some things to deal with. I have been reading about the connection between the brain and pain and decided I would do something to alleviate my pain as well. Mind over matter as I told the nurse when I saw the consultant last week. He could not believe that my pain was only one on a scale of 1 to 10 and that I only took paracetamol. But I will be stopping that soon and seeing how I go. I do have a definite injury but I believe that I might even be able to heal that as well.

I do believe that being outside in nature can heal all kinds of things and I continue to do this. My friend gave me two outside chairs which have arms and I am finding these very comfortable when I sit outside which I do as often as I can.

Thinking for myself is very important but I do listen to others if I feel they can help me in some way but I am trusting my intuition much more than I have for several years. I feel as if I have been given a new lease of life and hope this feeling will continue and that I might even be able to walk unaided. Positive thought works wonders!

Signs of Spring

It is quite noticeable now that the hours of daylight are longer. We have also had some beautiful winter days with clear skies but with cold icy winds. However I do love these kinds of days. My bulbs in their pots are starting to show little shoots above the ground so I am looking forward to seeing these grow and bloom.

My son took me to a nature reserve I have not visited for a few years. There were lots of hazel catkins blowing in the wind so difficult to get a good photo. But from the bird hides there was plenty to see. One of the bird hides is by a feeding station and it was wonderful to see so many birds there. Goldfinches, greenfinches, chaffinches, blue tits, and long tailed tits were numerous. There were also robins and blackbirds but notably there was a wonderfully coloured bullfinch and also a bird I had never seen before a female reed warbler. I found the whole experience extremely uplifting and joyful.

There was also a small island covered with around fifty cormorants. I saw a small egret and lots of other birds whose names I did not know. But the time out in nature was good for my soul. People can underestimate the power of the natural world as they may walk along but never see anything. I am not a ‘birder’ as I look at everything as I go along. I am always on the lookout for fungi, insects, flowers etc as well as anything else that crosses my path like a grass snake last summer.

For me this time of the year, despite the cold, is a wonderful time as nature awakes and enables me a glimpse of the future. I forget about the worries of the current world situation and let myself be surrounded by the joy and colour of nature.

While writing this blog post I am listening to Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No 2 a piece of music I find totally inspiring and uplifting. My soul is having a good day!

Approaching winter

Officially we are now in the winter season. I have noticed how the trees stand proud against the skyline with their bare branches. I see my hedge getting much thinner with large spaces so I can see through into the garden of my neighbour. The birds are still there but keep hopping out to feed on the conveniently placed feeder. I love the days when the sky is clear and the sun is shining. There is something special about the winter sky and the landscape around us.

But winter also has a special meaning for me It is the time when I take stock of what the year has brought me and look at how I have dealt with it. There has been a lot of sadness and grief this year and that has been hard to deal with but getting out occasionally amongst the trees has helped enormously. I have also looked at what I have achieved or not achieved as might be the case with some things. Are there lessons to be learned from this and can I do better next year. I find the winter months with the shorter days gives me more time to contemplate what has gone and what is to come in the future. I can do the stuff that I have put on one side while I have been enjoying the summer times. I can unpack the boxes still left to do since I moved earlier in the year. Maybe I will find the items I have spent hours looking for but still not found!

I also stock up on food just in case I cannot get out. I am old enough to remember the years of heavy snowfall when nothing stirred so make sure I will be OK if anything like a heavy snowfall arrives and stays with us. But most of all I am looking forward to the Winter Solstice, now in less than three weeks time, when the light returns and the hours of daylight start to lengthen. I have lots of new things I want to try next year so I shall start planning them now, making sure I will have everything I need to do these things.

So a time for contemplation, planning and enjoyment is what winter brings to me.

Reading and more

I love books and I am an avid reader. I much prefer to read a book than to watch the TV. So what kind of books do I read? I read all kinds of books, everyday feel good fiction for the evenings when I want to relax and more serious non-fiction for other times. I used to have a huge amount  of books but had to ‘cull’ them when I downsized. Now I have more space so I have started buying books again. There is something about the smell of the paper that makes me want to read books.

One of my recent purchases is a book called ‘The Fall’ by Steve Taylor. I have only got through the first part so far but it is a very interesting read, for me at least. The sub title is ‘The insanity of the ego in Human History and the Dawning of a New Era.’ So far it has provoked a lot of thought. Why did humanity suddenly become ego oriented and get a hunger for material goods?

Ancient tribes had a great connection with nature and the land on which they lived. Some of them still do but the rest of us seem to have lost that connection, that feeling for the land beneath our feet and for all that lives on it. This morning the sunrise was stunningly beautiful and I felt so connected to it and the surrounding trees and land. I know I am not alone in this way of thinking but there are far too many people who have totally lost the connection with nature and are busy trying to destroy it and everything that lives on the earth. Do we really need more motorways and high speed trains? Why is it so important to get a journey to work a few minutes shorter? Why are we in such a hurry? Do we need more airports so we can go abroad? What is wrong with taking a holiday in your own country?

I have been abroad several times and seen some stunning scenery and some ancient ruins where my ancestors lived but I do not need to keep going there or going somewhere hot to lie in the sun or as many do going to the beach and drinking far too much. There is so much around us that is beautiful. Watch the flowers open in the sun, the bees flying around collecting pollen and the other insects with their marvellous colours and diaphanous wings. To sit quietly in a park and listen to the birds singing is wonderful and so healing and refreshing too. Let’s encourage others to do the same.



Some years ago I paid for a small grove of trees, twenty I think, to be planted in a nearby wood by the Woodland Trust. Those trees are now much bigger and I love to see how they have grown. Trees are so important to us but there are many who do not know why. They are the biggest plants on the planet, and they give us oxygen, store carbon, stabilise the soil and give life to the world’s wildlife. They also provide us with the materials for tools and shelter.

This week my son and I have dedicated half an acre of woodland through the Woodland Trust, in memory of my dear friend Simon who passed early in August. Simon and I loved trees and spent many hours over the last 20 years or so walking amongst the trees, hugging them and talking to them. So I feel the dedication of these trees is very fitting as a memorial.

There is something about trees that has always called to me. I love them all although some are more special than others. I have always loved the graceful silver birch, one of the trees that grows first after any devastation such as fire. Yet the birch always looks very delicate. I also love the weeping willow which seems to have a yellow colour when the leaves are starting to appear. One of my very favourite trees is no longer around having been felled some years ago possibly because it had become dangerous. It was an ancient beech which seemed to love having people around it and sitting on its wide low branches.

Because of my love for trees I am always happy to help in some way when they are planted and I did this some years ago when the Woodland Trust was planting a new wood. The Trust also does other things in the woodland such as preserving hedging and dead tree trunks for insect life. Do you love trees like I do? I hope so. The photo today was taken earlier in the year as I was leaving a bluebell wood. I hope you like it as much as I do. I did use it on an earlier blog but it fits this one very well and for me is worth a second look.


Changing seasons

It has been a long hot dry summer but the last couple of weeks have brought us some rain which has been very good for the garden. One day last week I opened the door, as I do every day, to let in the fresh air and to give thanks for all around me. This particular morning was different than the previous ones. It was cooler and fresher but there was also a distinctive feel and smell of the coming autumn.  It’s not something I find easy to put into words but the feel and smell is something I recognise and know that autumn is on its way.

Looking back at the days of summer I see lots of flowers, their wonderful colours still there for the coming days. I noticed the number of birds too. I have a large thick hedge at the top of my garden and it has been home to several broods of birds, blackbirds, sparrows and robins. It has been a wonderful experience to watch them grow into adult birds. This last week a sparrowhawk visited as well. Luckily all the smaller birds were safe in the hedge and surrounding bushes.

I have also noticed the large number of bees visiting the flowers. But many of the flowers are there specifically for that purpose, to attract the bees. There are not so many now but they are still coming finding other plants attractive when their favourite ones have finished flowering.

There has been a large number of different butterflies visiting the flowers especially the buddleias which are commonly known as butterfly bushes. I have also seen damselflies and dragonflies whizzing around the garden but not often settling for photos! The plum tree and the brambles (which are not really wanted as they stop other plants from growing) have done exceptionally well and I have lots of fruit in my freezer. There were so many plums that I have been giving them to neighbours. Someone said it must be the fifth year as you get an abundant crop every five years.

But what I have noticed the most is the abundance of everything. There has been wonderful colour, and food for everything that comes into the garden, and watching the birds trying to get the blackberries and plums has been entertaining at times.

So now the season is changing and there will be different things to watch and to do as well. But my main thought at this point in time is ‘Abundance!’


What do you see?

The other day I heard someone say that they didn’t generally get out and look at things. But do we not always look at things and not go out especially to do that? Maybe not. My thoughts at the time were about missing so much of what is out there around us. But then again I generally walk everywhere or use a mobility scooter as I do not drive.

So let’s look at what I see when I walk into town. I live on a hill which helps me to see much more of the town below me and the far distance. Generally I first notice the parked cars and people walking to work or school. Then I notice the flowers in the gardens as I pass by. I see that some are blooming now but last time I went past they were only in bud. I see the bees and the butterflies taking advantage of these flowers. In the distance I see the church and other tall buildings and in the far distance I can see the tops of houses and some trees. I cross the road and walk down the hill by the side of the cattle market complex. There are lots of shrubs by the wall of the building which houses the sheep and some of these shrubs have flowers. So there are lots of bees around. There are also many small birds which have most likely nested in the top of the building which has open sides. They chitter chatter as I walk past. There is a lot of traffic with many cars having loud music going on and also many people are walking. I wonder if they see what I see. I hear the sounds of the sheep and the cattle as they are put into pens ready to be sold. Now I am ready to cross another road into the town itself and my walk there has been full of interesting sights and sounds.

So here is another example. One day I was sitting in the town park watching the ducks with their tiny offspring on the pond. The ducklings were busy exploring the plants on the pond and then when they were tired they came out and curled up to sleep at the side in the bushes. There were also moorhens with their youngsters but they seemed to prefer a different part of the pond. The gentle breeze made the branches of the trees move and rustle and birds flitted amongst them. There were ripples on the pond caused by the ducks and moorhens as they swam around. I occasionally caught sight of a few damselflies and butterflies too. Across the other side of the pond a man was sleeping on a bench. While I was there he got up and walked away. I could hear the traffic on the main road but it did not really disturb the peace of the pond.

There are so many people who walk around and do not see what is around them. They never look up or down for that matter and often have a mobile phone by their ear. What a lot they are missing!

What do you see?