A day in the life of a city Garden,part one Winter

Over a year ago I began posting on how to create a wildlife garden in the city ,as its now been over a year I thought an update would be useful.I will add three more updates over the year.

hellebore and primulas garden side bed


The cost

I have spent around a  £100  to £150 to create the front garden over an 18 month period .

It began as this

front garden


And  currently looks a bit bleak as its winter but I now have flower beds and a few shrubs



front garden winter feb

Though this seems quite a lot most of the expenditure was spread over the weeks ,eg I spent £1 on my last shop on some bulbs ,I usually buy a bag of seeds or bulbs  or a cheap plants on each shop  or a grow bag spending between £1 and £2.50 a week during my food shopping trips.The back garden I have spent around £500 on including  an arbour £50 from ebay I also bought an arch which I use for some bird feeders.

feeders garden bluetit

and a metal table and 2 chairs.

back garden towards patio

I also moved a bench from inside which now doubles as a hedgehog feeding station and nest.

bench fback garden window

Theres currently a hedgehog hibernating in it.Only £200 of the spend was on wildlife features,trees ,shrubs and plants.

daffoldiles side bed

Overall  there has been a significant increase in both the numbers and species birds visiting the garden.I have planted a lot of winter flowering plants and shrubs as I wanted to make sure the garden had berries for birds in spring and food for early bees and butterflies.This post records the comings and goings  at various times in the day in my garden near the centre of Leeds.Once nightfalls I have had to rely on last summers photos and for the owl a creative commons image as my camera is not up to the task of taking photos after dusk.


back garden red garden winter

I top up the bird feeders and water and put out food for the ground feeding birds which I throw into the hedge to avoid having the pigeons eat it all .I also put a dish of food on a chiminea for the robin I leave both chopped and whole apples and pears out and  they are often snacking on these when I come down .The squirrels are usually stealing from either mine or the neighbours feeders.

squirrel stealinbg

and pigeons are eating up the fallen seed from them .Alongside Blackbirds which are almost always the first birds I see if I am up early

pigeon eyc

There are usually blue tits,coal tits and slightly later great tits

blue tits

great tit

coal tit and coonifer garden

.At the front there will be house sparrows and a pair of black birds ,these appear on and off all through the day at the front either at the feeders or in the tree and hedge.The gold finches also appear at the front so I have added a Nyger feeder there.

sparrow on feeder

During winter the blackbird numbers increase radically there are at least six and I think closer to 8 or even ten spread between the front and back gardens.

blackbirds brdwatch weekend

Later once they have spotted me the magpies and crows come for their dog or cat food. The starlings appear and sometimes the woodpigeons.

three birds

,the thrush usually appears for the first time around now


and the robins

robin bw

Towards mid morning the finches appear ,the gold finches are a success story ,when we first came there were none  visiting ,we started to see the odd one or two last summer and now theres at least half a dozen

goldfinch birdwatch weekend

goldfinches tree

and probably a lot more as they are often spread around different feeders.

The bullfinches have just started to visit regularly

siskin and bullfinch

and recently the male acquired a mate

bullfinch pair and siskins

We  also recently had siskins appear first one and now there’s three


One morning I sat down to coffee to see the peregrine that normally sits in the trees actually perched in the garden .

Later  at lunch time or early afternoon the grey wagtail appears

grey wagtail side

grey wagtaol 1


More visits from the blue tits,coal,tits and great tits and later in the day the long tailed tits appear.

long tailed tits on feeder

and the woodpecker

woodpeckers return

If theres going to be an unusual visitor its around now ,occasionally I see a jay  or a parakeet which is another recent visitor ,I have never spotted him in the garden as yet  hes sits in the tree at the foot of the garden and flys over ,hes landed in a neighbor’s garden and I hear him when I walk the dogs .

parakeet 1


At night the odd fox might sneak in if the fence has come loose,these are last summers photos ,its too dark to catch the foxes and hedgehogs on camera at the moment


fox and hcairs garden

We rescued 6 autumn juvenile hedgehogs this winter one was much less than 300 gms most were around the 350 mark  and as the weather had been so mild we  released them in twos as they reached the needed 650 grams one is still active as its been far too warm since its release  for it to feel the need to hibernate.This is the last rescue hog just before release .


At night there will be owls ,we definitely have a Barn owl and one other owl though I dont know what species it is

Since last winter we have lost the nuthatch who was a regular visitor and there were no overwintering black caps this year but overall theres been a huge increase in the numbers and species of birds .I hope that once spring and summer arrvies there will be a similare increase in butterflies ,.bees ,bats and maybe frogs may appear .
































About hathawaysofhaworth

I am a Historian and author living in the north
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