Pigeons and Piles

Thankfully I have photos of one, but not the other. You see, it’s not the best time of year for garden photos, with very little – if anything – in flower and lots of bare earth. Brown twigs against brown soil, all bathed in weak, watery sunlight makes January an inexplicably long month. It’s these winter months that I spend more time looking down into the garden from the upstairs windows. I ponder the borders, the planting in them, the gaps and wonder how it will all look at its height in early Summer.

During one of these frequent musings, a pair of pigeons walking along the ground suddenly caught my eye. We have wood pigeons, these are a slightly higher class than the rats-with-wings in the city, but only slightly. The pair were in the grass of the Crescent and were waddling along, one behind the other. Heads moving side to side looking at the borders. Its the exact thing that we do when we’re walking about the garden, including the waddling. This pair ambled under the rose arch and followed the curve of Magnolia Hill, round to the other side. There is nothing preventing these birds from simply walking over the border but no, they stuck to the grass paths as though they were touring the garden. I felt that I was somehow being personally evaluated through the garden. I was still in a state of bemused wonder at this behaviour long after they had eventually flown off, leaving me wondering what on earth could have been going through their tiny bird brains.

Now moving on to the piles. I’ve been keeping a pile of large sticks and branches since I started on the garden almost four years ago. In that pile are branches from the very first trees and shrubs that I cut down or took out in the first days after moving in (before we even had the taps fixed). There are trunks from a pear tree, ornamental cherry, huge ceanothus, viburnum, birch and buddleia. Many more trees have been planted (in more appropriate places) to undo and make up for the initial hack and slash the garden needed to bring it under control. Although we’ve thrown out, chipped, composted or burnt lots of pruning rubbish, this pile remains as I know it will come in useful someday for something, even if I’m not quite are what, just yet.

Well 2018 might be the year this wood pile finally finds a permanent place in the garden, marking the outline of the Landing Pad that was created last year from clearing the back. The Landing Pad is a raised, levelled circular area of wood chip that will eventually be surrounded by borders of ferns, azaleas, camellias and other woodland-edge plants and shrubs; so says the plan. The branches should fit in well, I’m looking forward to starting work on creating new borders, especially as none were created last year.

12 Comments


  1. Wood pigeons – I get them too,but more often collared doves, who have even smaller brains, bless ’em! And you are right, they do parade around as if they were surveying the garden, ensuring that the plants are in the right places, pointing out the weeds, generally being head gardeners!

    Now that pile ….. that would have been in the woodburner long ago!

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    1. We don’t have a wood burner but we could have cut if up for other people that do. I kept the pile around because some of the wood is quite decorative and has good form. I hope to “dismantle” the pile and us it up this year, it’s been hanging around long enough now!

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  2. Sunil, I must admit, I can’t be done with wood pigeons, they make a hellish mess.As for your piles, hedgehogs just love them.

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    1. Hello Alistair, the wood pile is a little bit too open for hibernating animals, it’s more decorative fuel than anything else. The pigeons are sometimes annoying, but not as much as the squirrels, to whom we’ve lost a lot of bird seed to!

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  3. I love the image of the wood pigeons touring your garden. Perhaps they were looking for a desirable property to set up housekeeping.

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    1. Hello Jean, they can go elsewhere, I’ve enough of their shenanigans! They do seem to “tour” though. I wonder if they have memories of the garden when it was all grass and they’re walking around saying, “well that’s new” and “well that wasn’t there before”!

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  4. Perhaps the wood pigeons are keen garden fanciers. Branches can come in handy as natural-looking stakes, or turn them into wood chips.

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    1. Hello Jason, I have my eye on the branches as border lining, especially with the countless ferns we have. I did do a large amount of chipping a few years back with several piles of garden rubbish but it was a bit traumatic to slog through. I like the the idea of having them effortlessly decompose in an artful manner at the edge of a border.

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  5. I’m mightily relieved to see that you’re referring to your woodpiles. Lovely stuff for wildlife – I stack wood around the garden to provide shelter for our wild friends.

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    1. Hello Sarah, yes, the back of the garden, where it’s a little bit more “natural” under the trees lends itself well to this. It also means I get a legitimate place to dump future branches without worrying over creating new rubbish piles to move around or having to deal with them later on.

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  6. I’m sure your garden was met with great approval by the pigeons. I have a hard time getting rid of branches, too. I always find a way to use them, even if they just go in the brush pile for the wildlife.

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    1. Hello Tammy, ever since we moved in we’ve had piles of wood, branches and rubbish to get rid of. We’ve saved the god stuff (in another pile) and I’ll be hopefully using that up this year. Having a pile for wildlife is a good idea and I think I know just the right spot to have something like that.

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