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Give Wildlife A Home In Your Garden 

It's very rare these days that I get time to simply potter around in my own garden, but today I made a concerted effort to spend a few hours tending to what is rapidly becoming a mini jungle at the back of the house. And it was delightful. 
The first thing that hit me was the scent of the, now very established, Choisya ternata filling out a corner next to the shed. This was quickly topped though, by the amazing show from the Clematis Elizabeth, in full bloom, rambling over the pergola. Nestling in amongst the climbers I discovered a bird box I'd installed several years ago and promptly forgotten all about. As far as I'm aware no birds have never taken a shine to it enough to call it home, but it seems that may now have changed as there's lots of marks around the hole that I've not noticed before. Exciting!  
Bird box surrounded by Clematis Elizabeth
Whilst I toiled hard, digging up weeds and cutting back and extremely rampant Jasmine, I kept noticing out of the corner​ a flurry of activity around the bird feeders - I may not have had the time to tend the garden, but I'm a stickler for making sure the birds are always well fed. 
Sparrow flying to bird feeder
It seems that my garden now not only has a regular fox visitor, but also a very noisy pair of resident Great Tits.  The longer I spent in the garden, the more wildlife appeared. Blue Tits arrived by the truck load, house sparrows whizzed in and out quickly and even a wren came to check out what was going on. My faithful old Robin now has a mate and he seemed very keen to show her off as they followed me from patch to patch. Bees where droning around the flowers and a cheeky squirrel even attacked the bird feeders right in front of me!  
Blue tit sitting on branch with bright green background
​Despite the lack of interest in my lovely cedar bird box, I've decided to give the 'home for wildlife' idea another go and build a wildlife tower. I've done this once before in one of the first gardens we ever built, in Belsize Park, and it still looks great today. It was constructed from off-cuts of oak and stone used in the construction of the garden, mixed in with a few bricks and tiles we found whilst excavating and chopped up bamboo canes that came with the climbers. 
Wildlife tower with bug hotel and recycled materials
The whole structure is held together by a fairly rough framework of 18mm plywood and timber battens, then the gaps were simply filled in with the materials mentioned above. On top I added a timber tray to house a mini green roof of sedum. 
The tower was set in the middle of a newly created flowerbed and then the surrounding area was planted with perennials such as Crocosmia, Scabiosa and Heleniums. 
As luck would have it, we have two projects on the go at the moment that are both at the paving stage, so I am going to be setting aside off-cuts and seeing what else I can salvage over the next couple of weeks, and then it'll be full steam ahead with 'Project Wildlife Tower Mk2'! 

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