From parking space to Wildlife Haven – Greening the Grey – Bernard Mills’ tiny miracle Garden in Station Road.
Bernard loves showing off his garden. He has transformed a pocket handkerchief space used for a car concrete pull-in, into a beautiful garden full of pollinator friendly flowers including lavenders, thyme and rosemary, heathers, forget-me-nots and honeysuckles, other herbs and vegetables in which he has created a wonderful wildlife haven where he sits in and spends time observing his wildlife visitors including, on one occasion a hedgehog and birds bathing in his bird bath.
After a varied career, which sadly left Bernard with an industrial illness needing a buggy, he was still determined to be active. His garden has provided an environment where the natural world comes to him. There are three bird boxes and two were used this year. The first box successfully housed a family of 7 blue tits who have now all fledged and Bernard took some snaps of the first fledgling clinging to his fishing rod. The second was used by a male wren to make one of his nests but the female rejected it – they are very fussy. The third is new and Bernard is waiting for it to weather in. Like everything in his garden it’s made from recycled and rejected items. His blue shallow water feeder was once a calling card holder. His new feeder for live meal worms was bought in pieces and very dirty from Campsea Ashe auction for £14. Bernard cleaned it, put it back together and painted it.
Birds regularly visiting his garden include tits of all sorts – blue, great, long tailed tits, gold finches, green finches, starlings, blackbirds, house sparrows, dunnocks, a thrush, collared doves, pigeons, robins and wrens,
Bernard’s son has a light box for moths and Bernard has seen 28 different species in his garden including the Humming Bird Hawk moth.
Bernard’s two wild life ponds are teaming with life – newts, tadpoles now mostly small frogs, common and Ramshorn snails, damsel fly larvae and pond skaters.
Bernard’s old compost bucket has been turned into a wormery with leaf litter being slowly transformed into rich humus. His water butt provides rainwater for his ponds and bird baths as well as watering his continuous supply of beans, cucumbers, various tomatoes and salad leaves each summer.
Wild life havens can be created like Bernard’s in any garden and he shows what can be done even after retirement and with ill health.. It provides, as well as the haven for wild life, a life-giving joy to the gardener.