The last couple of months have also been busy on the home front because of the demolition of our old summerhouse, which was showing signs of age and had degenerated into being a pretty raggedy storehouse, and the construction and fitting out of our new garden studio.
One key reason for the project was that during some of the 250+ keynotes I did in 35+ countries in the first eighteen months after Green Swans was published it was sometimes possible to hear our neighbour’s children practising their flutes and trumpets through the party wall. During one important event I did in Finland, someone at the other end asked whether anyone else could hear distant flutes?
The project, undertaken by eDen Garden Rooms, has exceeded our hopes – and gave me an excuse to realise a long-held dream. I had wanted a wildlife pond rather than the tiny lawn we had allowed to ‘rewild’ in recent years.
Our daughter Gaia and her friend Adam from WoodeNZone, based near Shepperton and sourcing driftwood from New Zealand, have been the driving forces behind the project. We bought a glorious piece of driftwood from Adam, shaped like a great eagle or vulture, that will stand by the pond – and he gifted us another, which he referred to as an “embracing wing”.
Together they remind me of rather weathered and worm-eaten versions of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
We part-filled the pond with rainwater captured by our new green roof. And once the pond was in place, the rain fell and the first water boatman arrived in the course of just a few hours.
Much still to do in terms of bedding the whole thing in, including the planting of aquatic plants, hopefully embracing irises and bullrushes. But the shape of the thing is now fairly clear – and it is remarkably calming to sit on the new deck and watch the world, including our ancient apple tree, reflected in the surface of the water.
With the village pond a couple of blocks away, the Thames ditto, and the WWT London Wetland Centre at the other end of the village, I am very much hoping that we will have some wild visitors before long – though desirably not the herons, my second favourite birds after swifts, which roost in a heronry alongside the nearby Leg O’Mutton Reservoir.
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