Growing on the Wild Side! [2]

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Season 3 – Autumn/Winter 2019/20

Doin The Dirt Directory

Wildlife Gardening and Rewilding Mini Series

Zen Garden Relaxing Music and Nature – Asian Far East Instruments


Growing on the Wild Side! [2]

Some Realities …

Leaf print

Some of the realities of my ‘rewilding gardening’ project are beginning to surface this winter as faults and problems with products bought for the purpose of helping the wildlife in the garden.

One significant problem l am experiencing is with feeding the birds and which feeders are best … we have a number of different makes here designed ‘supposedly’ for specific bird species.

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Feeding Station 1

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Feeding Station 1

Seed feeders , nut feeders, suet ball feeders and so on … but of course each garden environment is unique to not just the garden and its microenvironment but the suburb that you reside within and the residents ‘avian wise’ of your own suburb as well. How close you are to natural resources and how many gardens offer feeding stations for birds, how many have cats, how many have bird scarers, how many have outside dogs that chase birds off their garden space, how many have a busy garden schedule or children playing and the list for what attracts birds to your garden is quite endless.

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Feeding Station 2

Birds like gardens that are busy but are quiet at certain times of the day and that are plentiful in nesting, security and saftey and  natural wildlife resources and are not hostile but bird and wildlife friendly.

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Feeding Station 3

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Feeding Station 3

I have one very specific bird side to the garden  and having said that all my garden space here is a safe environment for birds, but in the last few months l have noticed how the bird species occupy the garden spaces … and more importantly the feeding stations.

I have three main feeding stations now [not including the very back lawn for scattered seeds] and each is visited by different species, but it has taken time to understand which birds like what and when. The winter birds in our garden feed and feast mostly in the early to mid mornings and early afternoon just prior to dusk settling in.

We have a mixture of different species here and we are not dominated by any one particular size – so we have our share of woodpigeons, magpies and the occasional woodpecker and jay although this winter they have become more frequent visitors. Next we have blackbirds, doves and starlings.  What l have been overjoyed at seeing this autumn and winter have been the following visitors and residents … greenfinches, yellowhammers, long tailed tits, coal tits, dunnocks, goldcrests, wrens,  occasional sparrows, blue tits,  chaffinches, great tits and lots of robins – it is a real joy to see so many tits in the garden! [Suze wonders why some days l am out there for longer periods of time!!]

However some of the so called ‘ideal’ bird feeders have proved to be quite useless and whilst l can easily understand that in some other gardens they may be viewed differently, here certain designs simply fail to attract. I bought a trio of protected bird feeders in wire cages to prevent the bigger birds taking advantage of the contents and yet none of the smaller species would take advantage of these and yet l know other gardens in the area here have them present and birds are always around them – so it is NOT a failed design, it is that our particular variety of garden birds have no desires for them.

The protected feeder is to 1] prevent larger birds getting a looksee but also and more importantly to prevent squirrels from gaining access to the food source.

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Oops my bad – complete write off!

I have had to seriously doctor the appearance of the wire caged feeders and in the process of performing that action today on the burgundy one, l cut away too much support and it simply fell to pieces! So l decided that the small wire panels l cut away two weeks ago to allow access were still too small and offputting.

Wire doors cut open two weeks ago too small no activity.

The amount of actual feeding activity from the above two feeders was minimal and only through the winds and seeds dropping did l witness feeding … on the ground below the feeders themselves. So something had to change and whilst l have made those changes now, l will not see the effects of this until tomorrow morning. But hopefully this will encourage the smaller species to feed – the disadvantage of course is that some bigger species could join in, so to try and avoid that l have positioned the new changed feeders to a higher position where the bigger birds cannot grasp any support branches.

The so called Robin feeder – designed by the professionals who say the red robin likes to feed whilst swinging was originally placed into an area that would allow this and yet not once did l see any robins feeding on it! So l moved it into Feeding Station 1 territory from Feeding Station 3. I would daily wiggle seeds out and that is the only reason it displays a ‘used’ look.

Red Robin feeder moved from FS3 – FS1

Nut feeders are proving a nightmare – well they are and they aren’t – smaller birds love the nut feeders but whilst l had two stations with nuts present as in FS [Feeding Station] 1 and FS 2 – the nuts in the second station were never touched and actually went off and went moldy and were dumped l will blender shred them tomorrow morning with the other kitchen waste and compost them off. They went off because they were not being eaten and the wet from rains on non movement or non eating meant they stagnated and aged as they were. Nuts don’t work in FS 1 – the pigeons who feed from that station obviously put other birds off.


The nut feeder in FS1 move much faster, but as you can see – there was mold here as well – so these had to be emptied off and dumped as well. Proving that whilst nuts are welcomed this feeder design is flawed with regards water and plastic. I could use netted bags but they can tear very easily, then we have dropped nuts on the ground and that sounds painful to even me! So it just means keeping your nuts clean … mm!

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Something however that has proved very welcome and not just the scattered seeds on the back garden which all the birds love especially the ground feeders – but the half coconut suet shells are very popular with everyone! I have just ordered a new load of these and we come back to simplicity – don’t we – you can have all forms of gadgetry but the birds will still always feed on the most natural and freer access feeders! I trialed four of these two weeks ago and less than two weeks later the four are now mostly empty apart from this last one. The birds pick them down to the very last spot!

I think come next winter l will remove all the feeders and just have these half shells in the trees and replace the seed and nut feeders in the spring, summer and autumn month branches. These suet shells provide the birds with the high proteins they need to survive winter.

It’s all a big learning curve so everything is cool.


What’s NOT cool is the strange beastie responsible for digging up the garlic and eating the bulbs!! So today l have had to net the bed from what l think is a fox – the holes are too tidy and neat for a badger – but a sneaky sly garlic loving fox … mm!!

Suze and l again, due to the poorer weather missed our Horseradish sauce creation – when l first planted the horseradish l was told to plant them into a tub of around 30″ so that the roots which are invasive wouldn’t take hold in the ground. I should have picked a tub without an inner lip meaning l can’t get a fork into the tub properly! So now when the weather improves l will have to cut the tub in half and dig out what we have and only use the younger shoots for planting or vice versa and then make up a stock of blow your head off forever sauce!!

Finally an up date on Ava the Avocado – as much as l try and keep her healthy, this disease is determed to try and kill her off. She has new growth, but it falls victim quick to the black spotting. If she survives till the spring l will be happy but at what cost her survival might take l know not.

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Catch you all again soon – many thanks for reading.

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4 thoughts on “Growing on the Wild Side! [2]

  1. I think growing avocados in your climate would be a major accomplishment. I live in their ideal climate, there are several groves a little north of me and many people have a backyard tree. I am allergic to avocados which totally sucks!

    I’d love to have a hummingbird feeder or plant some honeysuckle or similar fave flower, but with two cats, a noisy Zeus and HRH… its kinder NOT to attract birds😂

    1. Hey Grandma, l knew deep down that once the Avo got to a certain size [that being the time it was too big for indoors window sills] l would probably start to experience the dreaded black spot disease. Sadly such is the way of life.

      I love having the birds in the garden and to have so many this year is a real blessing – l am super looking forwards to starting the schedule for growing this year and have plans for H/suckles 🙂

  2. Don’t think I can blame Captain Chaos for digging up your garden. But you never know. Our garden is strange. Birds never really go for food in the back garden but swarm at the front. Looking at the pictures it reminds me that as hard as Ive tried I just can’t wild flowers to take hold. Will have another go.

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