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Herb of the Week for 24th Nov 2006

Feathered Friends of the Garden

By Lynn Kirkland


Feathered Friends of the Garden
By Lynn Kirkland for 24th November

If the people of the Manawatu are feeling a little perplexed as to what season they are in, the inhabitants of the garden world just carry on responding to their natural rhythms and instincts as normal.
Although we grumble about the rain and the cold temperatures, the nature’s creatures just carry on regardless.

We are always delighted to see birds nesting at the herb farm as they play a valuable part in the balance of the garden. Every year there is always a thrush nesting in our old nursery area. I wonder if this is the same mother thrush each year. (I am not sure if the Dad thrushes do nest sitting duties or not.)
This year our thrush parent has built the nest under the hops vine. This is very clever as the large leaf above the nest acts as an umbrella on rainy days.
A watchful eye looks out at me as I try to take photos without getting too close.
When she/he flew off I was able to peep in the nest and see four beautiful blue eggs.

We regard birds as natural partners in our gardening system.
Because of their natural insect controlling duties we never need to lay snail bait or use insecticides. I have often seen thrushes banging snails against rocks to get to the meal inside. Although in an ideal world they would only eat slugs and snails and leave the earthworms to do their beneficial work in the soil, it doesn’t work like that.
Other feathered residents like the fantails like to eat their insect meals on the wing.

It makes perfect sense to let nature establish a balance in your garden as it helps the environment, saves money and provides valuable nature study lessons for young children.
If you do see birds nesting in your garden, teach children to watch from a distance and never to touch the eggs or the parents may abandon them.
A few weeks ago we have had an unusual feathered visitor in the garden. A kaka was sighted, appropriately in the native area of the gardens. The kaka was not given a warm welcome by our tuis. They flew into the kaka to give a not so subtle message of “this is our territory so make like a bee and buzz off”

Oh well all is not perfect in the natural world. One of the changes we have noticed this season in the herb garden is the huge amounts of rose flowers which are a lovely compensation for the wet and cold weather.

Grove Road, RD10
New Zealand


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