We knew there were sometimes deer in our garden, even before we moved into the Lodge. The previous owners had pointed out the damage to the fruit trees and blamed it on wandering herds. We didn’t see them for a long time and then only fleetingly if we happened to get up in the middle of the night. Close examination of the lawn would sometimes reveal one or two ghostly shadows. It was a shame about the trees, but we were happy with our visitors.
Lately things have changed – for the worse as far as our plants are concerned, but now we have the most incredible relationship with our wildlife. It started about two years ago when I found a tiny oak seedling growing in the lawn. It clearly couldn’t stay there and yet I didn’t have the heart to throw it away like a weed. The definition of a weed to me is simply a plant in the wrong place. Instead, I gently carried it to the back garden where I installed it in an empty pot. We have about two dozen assorted containers that used to house a collection of houseleeks, alpines and hostas. Having planted and watered the seedling, I thought how we could watch it grow over the years until it was big enough to plant in a suitable location in the woods. I felt pleased with myself.
The next morning we went out to see to the chickens and I wandered over to check on my plant. The pot was empty! I couldn’t understand what had happened until my husband checked our security video later that night and the culprit was plain to see. A deer had come right up to the house and helped herself to my little tree. I was gutted and at the same time I knew it was pointless replacing any other plants in the containers. Now they are mostly full of weeds – a definite case of plants in the wrong place.
We still have the deer though and now they come round in broad daylight. We happened to be working from home yesterday and at 4.00 in the afternoon a large figure ran past the window where I was sitting in the study. She made her way to the path where we feed the birds and started clearing up the mixed corn. Later that evening she was back for the peanuts we put down for the badgers. Three badgers turned up minutes later and I have a few photographs of all four of them eating together. The featured image here was taken as she moved across the lawn and paused to trim the grass right in front of the dining room. She was less than fifteen feet away as I photographed her through the window. I did my best to remain motionless, but Gremlin, our Devon Rex cat jumped up on the window sill and caught her attention. I was lucky enough to grab a couple of shots before she moved off.