We’re back in my garden again for this blog! The glorious weather over the past couple of weeks means I’ve been able to spend lots of time in it, and learn more about the care and nurturing of the plants. It’s also been great for lounging about, and I’ve devoured a couple of books and a few podcasts as well. Most unusually the most comfortable temperature has been at night, and a few night-time photos are peppered throughout this blog.
Just outside my back door there is a narrow passage with the garage wall on one side and the conservatory on the other. It’s probably 1m wide, and there is a good covering of ivy on the garage wall which has been there for a number of years. A few weeks ago I was conscious of a lot of rustling and activity in the ivy, and discovered two little sparrows had been busy building a nest.
In terms of location, location, location, this was not the ideal choice, since it meant a very awkward flight path for them with windows and doors to navigate, not to mention my comings and goings.
When I was sitting quietly reading, they seemed to forget I was there and happily flew backwards and forwards to feed their young. However, when I was up and about they took up a couple of vantage points on my garden seat and the conservatory window ledge to make sure the coast was clear. I was fascinated at their diligence and ingenuity in their quest to ensure their young were safe and well fed.
“In order to see birds it is necessary to become a part of the silence.”
― Robert Lynd
I then noticed a few small, fluffy inquisitive sparrows who were happy to come up quite close, so I assume these were the young from the nest. One day last week I was aware that everything seemed quiet and after a couple of days of no activity at all I had a careful peek into the nest and discovered that it was empty.
From the RSBP I learned that the young fledge 14-16 days after hatching. They are unable to feed themselves for about a week after leaving the nest and are cared for by their parents for around a fortnight. Post-fledging care is frequently left to the male as the hen prepares for the next brood. She can begin laying her next clutch of eggs within days of the previous brood leaving the nest.
I realised that this was actually a demonstration of situational leadership – with the two adults working closely together – watching out for the strange human in the garden and taking turns to hunt and gather whilst sheltering and protecting their young.
“The bird dares to break the shell, then the shell breaks open and the bird can fly openly. This is the simplest principle of success. You dream, you dare and you fly.”
― Israelmore Ayivor
I had got used to running the gauntlet each time I came out the back door, and the cheeps of the little ones had become a familiar sound.
I felt a mixture of relief and slight sadness at their absence, but next on my list is to cut back the ivy to discourage them from nesting there again. There are plenty of other options in the garden with less risky access for birds and humans!
They also left just in time for my two-year-old grandson to launch himself into the garden on one of his regular visits.
On the trellis the roses are now in bloom, and it’s been wonderful having the time to tend to them on a daily basis, deadheading, watering and feeding. I have noticed how the new buds begin to emerge and open while being supported by the more mature heads.
Again, this offers a glimpse of leadership – with the new bud being protected and sheltered, literally resting on the larger blooms until it is strong enough to flower independently. The cycle of life and death is evident in the fading of the mature blooms, but there is also a beauty in the decaying rose petals which gather in piles underneath the plant.
“The language of roses shifts under our feet. It blows in and out like the wind. It carries the fragrance of the flower and then it is gone...It is how we learn to speak about something that is disappearing as we say its name.”
― Helen Humphreys, The Lost Garden
I’ve decided some of the larger plants, delphiniums and lupins could do with some additional support, so have sourced metal plant rings which will rust down and blend into the foliage. Hopefully these will offer some additional protection and stop them drooping in heavy rain or strong winds.
So, I will stop writing before I get carried away with leadership analogies or start becoming a bore. Suffice to say I am enjoying having enough leisure time to really enjoy and absorb everything about the garden.
And, with my grandson visiting this week, despite all my plans for separate play areas and strategically placed shade, he made a beeline for the new water feature and took great delight in watching it cascade over his hands, and then filled it with stones and leaves.
Children’s games are hardly games. Children are never more serious than when they play. –
Lead well, take care