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When I lived in a town...

raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 4,813
I was musing to myself this morning as I was weeding, as you do, that when I lived in a city (Bath), I felt that if I left the garden for a year or two, I'd come back and probably find a load of dandelions and long grass but it would still be where I left it. When I lived on the edge of a city (Bristol) there was a distant presence on the horizon which felt like in a few years might begin to encroach but still, the garden would be there, with the apple trees and hawthorns probably becoming lost in a wider, wilder wood. Oddly, perhaps, when we lived in a Cotswold village it felt much more permanent, like it would just go to sleep and wait for my return and just be a slightly shaggier version of itself.
But here, there is a pressure of nature on all sides of us. It's as if we've made a small clearing for ourselves but the birds and plants and animals that were already here just ignore us and carry on. Ferns and nettles sprout from new stone walls after only one season, the swallows and redstarts and bluetits and wagtails all nest in the house walls, the garage, the shed, the robins and wrens make a home in whatever we leave alone for a week or two - cement mixers, cars, trailers. Grass grows EVERYWHERE. I feel if I left it for even one summer, the house would be swallowed again by the time I came back and I'd need a machete to find it.
I rather like it, but it is slightly intimidating  :)
“There is no military solution
Doesn't always end up as something worse”
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  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Bath, SomersetPosts: 7,968
    Sounds rather idyllic @raisingirl but I prefer living here - on the edge of Bath! I'm a town girl at heart although I was brought up in the country. 
  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 4,813
    I'm not sure about idyllic, @Lizzie27. Bearing in mind I was weeding (with a hand fork) a concrete path while I was thinking this. Even the most aggressive forms of human 'control' are just shrugged off. The moss and couch grass grows over the concrete, the ox eye daisies, foxgloves, dandelions and violets seed into the moss. Give it a month and you'd swear there wasn't a concrete slab there at all. A year and there probably wouldn't be - all those roots erode the surface and it begins to crumble...
    “There is no military solution
    Doesn't always end up as something worse”
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 26,424
    I know exactly how you feel @raisingirl.   Turn your back for a minute...........
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 3,791
    I know just how you feel!
    For various reasons there were a couple of years when the garden got much less attention than usual, and last year and this I have been fighting an uphill battle to get it back to a semblance of its former self. It is meant to be a 'wild' garden, but the wilderness effect has grown exponentially and plants, not all of them native, have made their own communities and contribute their own beauty with no help from me.
    Our birds embrace every opportunity to nest here, which is wonderful, but also means my hands are tied as regards gardening jobs or even visiting parts of the garden or outhouses near their chosen sites. So things haven't been pruned and the shed hasn't been properly cleared out for years as it isn't a job I can do in winter!
    The grass needs cutting, no mow May not needed here, as there is more than enough left long and wild, but it keeps raining so I can't do it, so it gets ever longer and harder to deal with.
    There still isn't anywhere I would rather be :)
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 26,424
    Oddly, or maybe not given the French attitude to small birds, I don't come across nests.   I know we have sparrows in the eaves of the house and in the hen house roof and there's a room in the ruin that we now never enter once the swallows return but we leave the garden shed and Cave doors closed because we don't want more nests in there.   They have the whole first floor of the ruin (ex farmhouse) too and the walls.

    There are robins, blackbirds, tits, redstarts and other little brown jobs that all visit here regularly and I'm sure some of those nest in nooks and crannies round the ruin and hedges but we deliberately don't look in case we disturb them.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 4,813
    Our birds embrace every opportunity to nest here, which is wonderful, but also means my hands are tied as regards gardening jobs or even visiting parts of the garden or outhouses near their chosen sites. 
    But that's the thing, you see, the swallows are nesting in the garage, which is our main door to go in and out, dozens of times a day. You have to duck as you go through the door because they tend to swoop over your head. If you pop in there now they'll be swinging gently on the electric cable that came loose and now makes a handy perch. When the weather gets warmer and we leave the kitchen door open for the dogs to pootle in and out, the swallows regularly turn up in the kitchen. Along with bumble bees and hornets. The hornets are a pain in the bum because we usually leave a light on downstairs for the dog who cries on her own in the dark, but the hornets then crawl over the window and fall off when I open the door, at risk of being stepped on by a passing pooch. The swallows are also nesting in the woodshed - OH only put a roof on it last spring and they were in there within a fortnight. I worried about the wagtails last year, because they nested right by the back door, just at eye level. They raised 5 chicks. Not remotely bothered by us going back and forth. 

    I guess it's how farmers have always felt
    “There is no military solution
    Doesn't always end up as something worse”
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 3,791
    The swallows don't mind, or the Dunnocks or the robins. The wrens yell at us but put up with our coming and going. But some others are more nervous and I don't want to upset them. The blackbirds are quite shy, and the chaffinches too, and fly off at the slightest movement. I can stand right by the glass only a metre or so away from the siskins though and the reed buntings are also quite bold. Have more siskins this year than before, don't know if they will stay and nest, that will be a new one for us.
    Haven't seen a swallow yet this year, don't know if we will, only one pair made it back last year, though there were 3 pairs the year before and they raised several broods. Will be very sad if none appear, they are part of summer here.
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 11,220
    I'm so longing for that. I get the feeling I might not garden at all, just watch - and watch the house and all disappear.
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 6,808
    Cor, you get about raisingirl
  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 4,813
    Cor, you get about raisingirl
    Started in Cornwall - didn't mention that one. Always in the West Country though  B)
    “There is no military solution
    Doesn't always end up as something worse”
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