Sometimes being too busy is a darn good thing.
I'd been planning to trim back my clematis tripods for quite some time but last weekend the day arrived: I had time, inclination and it wasn't raining.
There's two tripods (or hexapods, lovely sturdy metal ones, with a simple design) each central to a cutting bed, each holding up 3 clematis, and (these cool months) sweet peas (from seeds, tossed in, from Chiltern Seeds), and (still green) Gloriosa.
Luckily I cut back the one in the pink/mauve/white bed first, and rather hard, before starting more tentatively on the blue/purple clematis tripod in which I found...a sweet, little, complete nest, happily used and done with. (Maybe the old home of a scrub wren.)
What is it about wildlife in the garden, and in our case, when they treat the garden like an extension of the bushland, that is so delightful?
Here there's resident wallabies and antechinas, frequently-visiting echidnas and (rarely) wombats, lizards and numerous skinks, often kookaburras and a suite of darling little birds. It's as if someone else loves our garden too; has felt welcome and made a home; and found nourishment for young ones.
Part of the reason we have birds nest here is, I think, a simple one: we don't spray or otherwise kill spiders (I sometimes feel ambivalent about this) and the house exterior can take, it seems, one day to be festooned in webs after a clean; great material for nests, to bind them. In spring we see birds collecting this - to them - gold, and we smile, knowing their secret. (Just call me Morticia.) A lack of cats here must be a huge boon too.
A nest represents home, childhood, and parental love.
And it's proof - as if we needed it - that the garden is full of the little birds.
How good is that?
Jill Weatherhead is horticulturist, writer, garden designer and principal at Jill Weatherhead Garden Design who lives in the Dandenong Ranges east of Melbourne, and works throughout Victoria (www.jillweatherheadgardendesign.com.au).