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Home to Roost

Tempting them in

Food!

Not just birds?

Predators - a problem

Ponds and water

Visitors

My garden plan

Plants in my garden

Trees I planted

How I started

Downloads

Technical Details

Photo Gallery

The kiss of the sun for pardon
The song of the birds for mirth
One is nearer God‘s heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth.
This isn't rocket science, you know
In other words, it doesn't matter if you chop and change your mind a dozen times as you progress along your bird friendly garden route.

You can try this or that, get it wrong, start over and it just doesn't matter! In fact, I recommend that you just experiment and see what suits you. A few tips that I found useful follow...
Birds like trees
No you didn't need me to tell you that. What I meant was, birds appreciate being able to swoop into your garden and actually land somewhere to give the feeding area a "once over" before diving in.

Click to enlarge[Click on photo for large image]

We planted four small trees in our rather small garden and it has transformed that way birds view it. March 2003: my first tree was a crab-apple, about 5 foot tall maybe. Because I wanted to move it about (or so I thought) I bought a big plastic container for 8 to put it in. The tree was about 15 from my local garden centre, and I needed a 75 litre bag of peat mixed with some topsoil (I find peat too insubstantial to use all by itself, but that's just me. The tree doesn't know any different).

The container needed a few drainage holes drilled in the bottom: not too small so that they got clogged up with dirt, and not so huge that the soil would fall out. About the size of a 5-pence piece I guess. In the bottom of the container I put a couple of handfuls of broken flower pot so that the soil couldn't clog up the holes I'd just drilled. I then put about a third of a bag of peat in and the tree on top of that, so that the original soil level in the tree pot was about 4 inches below the top of my huge pot.

A handful of bone meal would have been useful at this stage, but I didn't know about such stuff at the time. In the space around the root ball I added the remaining peat and topsoil, firmed it well down and that was that, apart from a thorough soaking with the hose.
Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink
That tree got watered every day during 2003, unless it really rained cats and dogs. Which, if you remember summer 2003, it didn't. It was one of the driest, warmest years we've had in a long time. So that tree depended on me watering it every day. Go on, ask Alan Titchmarsh, he'll tell you!

That tree really bloomed, flowered and produced lovely crab apples by the Summer. If you were so inclined you could have made crab apple jelly with them, but I left them for the birds. And I mean, left them on the tree until they dropped off. Even then, they just lay on the ground until one day the blackbirds decided they were just right and finished the lot off in about a week! The trouble is, I'd started clearing the garden (around November) and had already thrown a lot of them out. Ouch! I won't be doing that again next year. Sorry Mr. Blackbird.