We moved to Ellicar in 2008, fell in love with the wild, open space, big skies, and saw beyond the bramble thickets and grass tussocks all around.
The garden has since become a haven for wildlife with diverse habitats, food plants and by adopting a wildlife friendly way of gardening.
Birds such as starlings, sparrows, finches and thrushes are abundant with some unusual species like flycatchers, kingfisher, oystercatchers, reed warblers are regulars now. Further up the food chain we enjoy resident tawny owls, kestrels, and buzzards.
Birds nest in delightful places- a Flycatcher, reared her brood by the back door in a pyracantha, goldfinches regularly nest in the beautiful white, weeping standard roses, blackbirds enjoy the willow domes, and our favourite nester is a little wren who sat tight through two open garden events up the sleeve of the school garden scarecrow.
The birds love bathing in our Natural Pool - starlings arrive en mass to bathe in winter, and we swim with swallows dipping in the water beside us in summer.
The pool is a magnet for other wildlife, supporting a wealth of weird and wonderful pond life, amphibians and iridescent damsel and dragonflies.
Areas of longer grass create habitats for voles and amphibians leaving the water and we leave the wildflower meadows and borders standing as cover and feed for birds over winter.
From late summer through to autumn the abundance of nectar rich flowers feed bees, butterflies and hoverflies.
Fascinating moths venture out at night along with a variety bats - the bats particularly enjoy patrolling the Natural Pool.
We mulch all garden borders, which improves the soil structure, increases soil biodiversity, saves on weeding and watering, and pleases the resident blackbirds.
Additional rotting log piles, brash piles and Bug Hotels are home to insects and birds - thrushes particularly love finding snails amongst the rotting wood. We often come across grass snakes basking in the sun - a sure sign that the garden’s biodiversity is good.
Not all the garden is cultivated, some corners are still wild, but we find wildlife in abundance right up to the house.
The wild creatures bring our garden alive- it is fantastic to see the family, pets and wildlife enjoying the garden together and dispels any myths about wildlife only inhabiting distant corners of overgrown gardens.