September 27, 2008

Birds and Bats Feel at Home

THIRD place goes to Miranda Aston and Ulrike Ull, of Woodland Avenue, Earlsdon, Coventry. They win a compost crock apple from Lakeland and a copy of Organic Gardening by Geoff Hamilton.

MIRANDA, a chartered engineer and Ulrike, a photography lecturer, bought the house 16 years ago, mainly because they loved the garden.

With a lawn surrounded by deep shrubs and established trees, they wanted to keep it as it was and maintain it in a way that continued to attract birds, wildlife and minibeasts.

They belong to the British Trust Conservation Volunteers and so the environment and nature are very important to them both.

They ensure their pond has sloping sides for creatures to get out, and keep it topped up with a hosepipe coming down from the house guttering.

They also have three water butts, compost, bug boxes, a squirrel feeder, solar power lamps and bird feeders.

"We get lots of birds," says Ulrike. "We even had a hawk, which was a bit of a shock. At night you can watch the bats and hear the owls. We also get foxes, hedgehogs, frogs and newts. We love the garden here, and we're just trying to maintain it and keepit a haven for wildlife."

Judge Katie Tippens said: "They have nice mature shrubs and trees, solar power lamps and good ideas for conserving rainwater. It's a lovely garden and they've really got the environment in mind."

Kathy Doyle added: "They also have winter-flowering shrubs which is good for insects in winter.

It's clear they are trying to keep in sympathy with the natural surroundings."

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