18 months ago, I planted a tree in my garden.
It's had a tough time since. This most spindly of saplings has been bent double by autumn gales and prompted more than one bout of emergency midnight ‘staking’ in my dressing gown and slippers. But, against the odds, it has survived through the seasons - and grown slowly but surely taller.
Like any youngster, it is yet to ‘fill out’, but I’m hopeful that in the next 2-3 years, it will - and become just as impressive as the other rowans in my village. And, just as important, live up to its billing as a winner with wildlife.
Its lightweight body and branches have so far been unable to provide any support for birds, but the other day, it made me proud. Very proud. My rowan finally started to do its bit.
A tell tale wobbling of one of the lower branches caught my eye as I glanced out of the patio windows. It was a still morning, so there should have been nothing stirring. A flapping of wings, the adjustment of a feathered body and the sight I’d been waiting all those months for presented itself.
The berries that last year had fallen to the ground, untouched by bird or beast, were being rapidly consumed by a blackbird. A humble female blackbird. Ok, so it wasn't one of the many waxwings that have been 'invading' this winter, but I was pleased. Very pleased indeed!
Here at The Lodge we've been shrouded in thick cloud for the past few days. Whatever time of day you look outside, the sky is the same. Grey. Gloomy. Depressing. We haven't seen the sun for what feels like weeks...
Too much time spent at your desk is a bad thing, so I escaped for some fresh air and a quick circuit of the gardens today. My spirits were lifted immediately. One of the most noticeable things, as I stepped outside the office, was the number of robins singing. Lots of birds stop singing after the breeding season is over, as there's no need to keep a territory anymore - it takes lots of time and energy to do it.
Robins are different. They sing all year-round, Even females do it in autumn winter - again, that's unusual for birds in this country. Contrary to their public image, robins are feisty, argumentative little birds, prone to fighting between themselves and always on the lookout for interlopers in their territory.
Not sure what a robin sounds like? Have a listen to the clip on this page.
I wandered slowly around the formal gardens before stopping. On the ground was a scattering of leaves; most were upside down, but a few had their bright, rich russet and scarlet surfaces uppermost. I'm fascinated by leaves and the colours they show, whether it's spring and the woods are full of garish greens, or autumn and reds and oranges are fluttering to the ground.
Now a selection of beautiful red leaves are helping brighten up my desk space. They'll serve as a reminder to go out for a walk and allow myself to be inspired and refreshed by nature.
Inspired by nature?
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