Great Garden Give, the summer fundraising campaign of World Land Trust (WLT), is encouraging people to view their gardens as miniature wildlife reserves. In this guest blog, WLT’s Kelly Jacobs reflects on what her garden means to her.
I will never be lauded for my green fingers. Mowing the lawn – not nearly as often as I should – and trimming ‘things’ is about as far as I get when it comes to gardening. But, this week, inspired by Great Garden Give, I took a closer look at my garden and realised how precious it is to me.
I value my garden not just because it’s a place of tranquillity where I can relax at the end of the day, but because of the wildlife visitors who arrive unannounced, go about their business and leave me with lasting memories.
Yesterday evening, for example, an hour and a half after eating supper with friends in the garden (and measuring it for Great Garden Give, of course), I had an uninvited, but most welcome, guest. A Muntjac Deer paid a visit to my ‘wild area’ (the strip at the bottom of my garden that I can’t get to with my mower, even with an extension lead).
Right outside my kitchen door is honeysuckle, where I once disturbed a Hummingbird Hawkmoth at dusk. With its heady scent, the honeysuckle buzzes with insects on summer days, while bats and moths flit about in a never ending game of dodge at night.
In spring thick borders of borage lend a blue haze to the edges of the garden. Insects have their first feast here, and it’s where the bees feed before the honeysuckle blooms.
Swifts scream overhead all summer long – they are summer to me now.
The blossom of the blackberry bush, which I don’t bother to cut back, teems with insects, and by late summer I have a bountiful crop of blackberries. It’s as if my garden is trying to make up for the fact that I don’t get a single cherry from my tree thanks to the resident birdlife. The pigeons have most of the cherries, but even blackbirds will steal from those hard-to-reach places!
In autumn my garden loses its glamour and becomes quieter. I miss the swifts. In deep winter I wake up to find wildlife footsteps in the snow and I struggle to unravel the drama that was played out in my garden while I slept.
My garden makes me smile – even when gardening does not.
Thanks to Great Garden Give for inspiring me look at my garden with new eyes, giving me a reason to relive the happy memories: a Sparrowhawk flopped on the lawn digesting a meal, a Tawny Owl over my head as I cleared my washing line late one night, and ducks snoozing under the cherry tree one morning – they all made me smile.
So I encourage you all to go out and take a fresh look at your garden. Great Garden Give is about everyone doing just ‘a little bit’ (and we all know that all those little bits add up to quite a lot).
For 25 years World Land Trust has dedicated its work to the cause of conservation and we can all play our part, not just by donating, but also by creating nature reserves in the wild corners of our own gardens.
My patch of paradise is less than 100 square metres, so my donation to Great Garden Give is just £2.50. This small sum will protect an area of forest the same size as my back garden. And when I imagine my little plot full of rainforest trees and rainforest wildlife – now that’s worth a lot more than £2.50 to me!
Kelly Jacobs is WLT’s Education, Outreach and Training Manager
Garden lovers can help save the world’s most threatened habitats and species by supporting Great Garden Give, World Land Trust’s summer fundraising campaign.
The idea behind Great Garden Give is simple. It involves making a donation to save an area of threatened habitat that’s the same size as your garden.
Use WLT’s Great Garden Give calculator to estimate the size of your garden and find out how much you’d need to donate to save an area of tropical forest that’s the same size. More information »