Last autumn as the sun passed ever lower across the sky I took the saw and secateurs to some of the larger shrubs in the back garden. It was time to reinvent the area and in someway regain space for vegetables as well as allowing more light. To this end, I attacked the Strawberry Tree, removing several of its lower branches to allow more light into the garden. I promised myself that I would return in the spring to remove the upper branches once the shoots of new growth had formed below – thus reducing it to a large shrub. The Rowan was also scheduled for a pruning – again, to remove some lower branches and allow a bit more light through.

But the key target of the autumn was the self-sown Buddleia beside the shed. In the narrow space between the shed and the fence it had grown unchecked and the mass of its branches was now pushing the shed out of true. It would have to go. Chopping it down was a mammoth task – in fact I still have to get round the back there again to finish off the main trunk! With so much to remove, I enlisted the help of Alasdair. I attacked the branches with the pruning saw and then passed them over the roof of the shed to him. He then removed the twigs and smaller branches with the secateurs, separating them into bin and ‘take in the car’ piles.

Sometime late in the afternoon and whilst handling a large branch he staggered and put his arm out to stop himself from falling – straight through the window of the shed! The good news is that he was unharmed. The window is glazed with styrene sheeting that had become brittle with age. I didn’t have any sheeting to hand and with other priorities I left it as it was – a window with a hole in it. I was, in fact, contemplating getting a better shed anyway so the urge to fix it was muted.

This week I’ve had the builders in – doing some pointing, rebuilding the chimney stack, digging out a blocked drain and preparing to reconcrete around the back of the house. They’ve also, whilst awaiting the scaffolders, pruned the Rowan and removed the upper branches of the Strawberry Tree. Oh – and they’ve also removed our old coal bunker, giving me a whole new bed for plants. During the course of all this activity their constant companion has been the Robin, swooping down amongst feet, shovels, pick-axes and sledgehammers to grab any tasty morsels that have been disturbed.

Now, I know there are a pair of Robins in our garden and I had suspected that they were building a nest somewhere. They have nested in the outdoor toilet before. However, careful observation revealed one of them flying into the shed through my son’s broken window. Taking advantage of the general DIY / Amateur Radio type clutter on one of the shelves, they have built a nest in a coil of earth cable and I can reveal that the female is now sitting 🙂 So Alasdair’s autumn accident may well result in a brood of Robins in a couple of weeks time! I have now placed the shed off limits after grabbing this quick photo with my 300mm lens (hand held on 1/10th sec!)

Robin's Nest