Sunday 7 June 2020


‘Every cloud has a silver lining’ or so they say and as we and the world struggle to cope in these extraordinary times, many of us have turned to the wonders of nature to heal the wounds of painful loss and deprivation. Easier said than done if you were isolated in a tower block flat but Sue and I are fortunate to have a large garden in southern England, so the self-isolation is easier than it has been for many others. 

Yes, we do realise the privilege of having space and fresh air but our five year garden plan turned into a fifty year plan and with thirty nine years of digging and planting, we have created our own little corner of heaven.

Our gardening is inspired by a love of the natural world so one of our missions in life is to make our patch as wildlife friendly as possible and it was easy to do so in the glorious sunshine we have enjoyed since the start of lockdown in March.
After that winter of record rainfall, the heat and light meant everything burst into flower like never before and you wonder with the hell humans are going through whether some ‘greater power’ is trying to compensate to make our lives more bearable.
Our woodland garden has provided a succession of glorious colour and though we haven’t been out for long wildlife walks, [we're both past our 'sell by date'], we’ve had plenty to inspire us just outside our windows, so thought you might like to share a few pics of the garden, all taken since lockdown began, because judging by the surprising response to our blog that celebrated our garden a while back, it has so far attracted over 21,000 views from around the world. Ain't nature wonderful.

The beauty of nature sure does highlight the benefits of gardening for wildlife, along with the good it does for our health and mental well being, so we hope that sharing pictures of our wild garden will put a smile on your faces too.

Among our many tasks, we have to manage the streams and six ponds, tend to the woodland flowers and shrubs along with the wildflower meadow. It's healthy hard work and we love it.


We are also creating a bee and butterfly garden so there is plenty of planting and gravel spreading to do and at times it was so hot I had to garden topless, certainly not a sight to include in lockdown beauty!

Progress is slow but steady and squadrons of buzzers are appreciating our efforts, making us happy when they arrive.

While waiting for our world to return to something like normality and allow people and businesses to recover, dare I say that I can’t help thinking we’ll look back fondly at a few side effects of lockdown, like having the time to think about who and what really matters in our lives.

It was wonderful to hear the bird song so clearly in the silence while gazing into a clear blue sky free of vapour trails.
And is it just my imagination, or aren’t there far more insects than normal in the clean air, the garden floating with butterflies, comma, brimstone, speckled woods, red admiral and peacocks, along with more orange tips than we've ever seen here before ... and we even enjoyed the privilege of a bee swarm in our beech tree.
As one eminent scientist said “Surely we aren’t going back to breathing poisoned air”!
So much sadness and tragedy for those who’ve lost loved ones is hard to bear but at least many of us will have learnt more about how wonderful wildlife is and how important our natural open spaces are, making us all smile in our hour of need … and hopefully, these lessons will mean we care more for our wildlife and wild places in the future. 

But for starters, lets hope we all survive and beat the virus so that we can once again share our lives with our loved ones and invite our close friends to visit. A few hugs would be good too! Enjoy nature when you can and support your local Wildlife Trust so our children can enjoy nature too.

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