Mybitoftheplanet is a small suburban garden measuring about 75x24ft. This view, from the house, is looking West, along the path that runs down the middle.
To the right is a parking place, and a caravan shelter, beyond which there are two sheds. At this end of the path is a veranda at the back of the house. At the far end is a small patio area we call the West Wing, which is a great place to have coffee in the mornings, while the back of the house is still in shade.
When you go out of the house onto the veranda, the first bit of garden that faces you is the main area where the birds are fed.
The tree in the picture is our Hawthorn, a gift to us from the birds. It was not there when we bought the house in 1975. Some years later I spotted the seedling amongst the border plants and decided to weed the plants and not the hawthorn. That decision was a wise one and the tree is now a focal point for a lot of bird activity. I control it's size by minimal pruning. The area this side of it is where our main bird feeding goes on.
The left hand side of the garden is bounded by a short solid fence which means that the ground there is always in shade, limiting the sorts of plants that can live there to shade loving types, including Bluebells, Snowdrops and Wild Garlic under the Hawthorn.
As you start to walk down the path you pass our original pond. This is one of those pre-formed plastic ponds, and is very small. While there are always frogs in it they do not spawn here.
As the picture shows, it is now hidden by plants - I have decided to let it develop without interference from me for the next few years.
Pass the pond and you come come to a narrow path that heads towards the fence, between the small pond and the much larger pond that I built when I became frustrated by the size of the small one.
This picture shows the big pond as it looks in early May, with vegetation thriving, and the pond surface completely covered by floating leaves.
To see more details about how I made the
big pond and how both ponds looked back in 2001,
Once past the ponds the path takes you between a young Rowan tree and a large bamboo plant with an area with a mixture of wild and cultivated plants in front of my workshop shed.
The Rowan was planted to provide an extra source of berries for winter feeding by the birds.
The tall peanut feeder was erected to attract the local Woodpeckers. It succeeded during late 2004 but they haven't become regulars as I hoped.
The water butt overflow is linked to the big pond (see pond link above).
Once past the Rowan, the path divides. The left-hand fork heads up to the West Wing, while going to the right takes you to the (metal) garden shed and to the Blue Tit/Great Tit nestbox.
In the fork is our Himalayan Birch tree. Bought as a bargain priced sickly-looking specimen from our local garden centre some years ago, it has become a healthy, attractive tree that provides a home for Orange Ladybirds every year.
As you climb the small slope to the left of the Birch you pass our 'Ivy Tree'.
When we moved into the house in 1975 there was a rather sickly conifer at the side of the garden. A few years later, when I decided that it had no hope, I stripped off a lot of the thin branches and then planted ivy around the base.
Over the years the ivy has grown into an important feature. It is used regularly as a nest site and has had Blackbirds, Dunnocks and Wrens as users.
The Ivy flowers attract masses of insects through the Autumn and the berries are a welcome food supply for birds in the winter.
At the end of the garden, the West Wing is our place of retreat, especially on a sunny morning.
Straight ahead, the fence is covered with Chilean Potato Vine (Solanum crispum Glasnevin), and to the sides are bamboo plants, grown in large pots. While the vine is covered with small purple flowers that the bumblebees like, the bamboos act as magnets for insects who use the leaves to 'sunbathe'.
Going to the nestbox takes you under a lattice framework which has honeysuckle and Jasmine plants growing up it.
The nestbox itself is on the side of a tall structure, built so that I can take photographs of the nest from behind a glass panel. The birds' entrance is about 10ft above the ground.
I will add a new section about this, and the other nestboxes around the garden when I have time over the next couple of months.
Click on the small images to see larger versions