The Habitat Garden Blog


Welcome to The Habitat Garden Blog. 

My name is Jilly and I am The Habitat Gardener - amateur naturalist, gardener and blogger. I came to this garden in summer 2016. It was like a long awaited homecoming. It is an old country garden, derelict in places. A dreamlike place where the nettles are long and the past almost tangible. My challenge is to create an aesthetically pleasing, manageable garden while not diminishing (and hopefully increasing) the habitat it offers to wildlife. This blog follows that journey. 

Come along for the ride! My posts contain leanings and learnings on habitat gardening, tips and book reviews - all with the occasional poem thrown in...

Jilly The Habitat Gardener

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This afternoon in the garden the air was alive with the chatter of birds. It was a disorganised symphony. The melodic doves in the background, cooing sweet nothings intimately to one another. 

Delinquent crows squawking obnoxiously in the foreground, accompanied by wood pigeons calling somewhere in between - always a little off key. 

April 12 2020 at 07.30

Sunset over stubble fields looking towards the Mills

We have returned from our Californian adventures and are settling back into life in rural East Anglia. A year and a half of absence and the garden is a wild thing.

The badgers have been busy scraping up any semblance of a lawn and the squirrels are on a mission to plant walnuts where I really don’t want walnut trees. 

Sept 24 2019 at 20.00


Saturday was a very happy day - my mother in law remarried in the beautiful Chiltern hills. Meeting later in life, Jean and Barry decided to make hay while the sun shines - and shine it did on their big day.

On the morning of the wedding I went for a jog along the ridgeway through the species-rich chalk grasslands of Aston Rowant nature reserve.

Weds 24h July 2019 at 12.00

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The funny thing about homesickness is that it waxes and wanes like a harvest moon; one week looming large and hanging ominously above everything, a few weeks later a distant and barely perceptible sliver in the endless sky.

They say homesickness has everything to do with attachment. For me it is attachment to a sense of place - a genius loci - which I only truly feel when I’m at home.

Fri 5th July 2019 at 16.23

Californian wildflower (Aquilegia formosa)

One advantage of living on the other side of the planet for a while is discovering an entirely new wild flora. Spring is still spring, but to my British eyes she appears to have emerged in a fabulous new outfit this year.

From the vaguely familiar to the down right exotic, new and unusual plants are popping up everywhere and after a gloomy grey winter it is a sight for sore eyes. 

Tues 17th May 2019, 20.00


I’m so glad this beautiful book came into my life. In it, Charlie Hart describes his journey through the profound grief of losing his parents. He managed to navigate this grief - alongside a lifelong battle with anxiety - with the help of his seven acre Essex country garden.

Tue 14 May 2019 at 21.00

Featured Posts

Toad (Bufo bufo)

My First Enchanted Garden

We lived in an ordinary house on an ordinary street but to me the garden was extraordinary. In fact, it was magical.

I remember being about four years old on those sun-dappled mornings of early summer. I would jump out of bed and run straight outside - bare feet on dewy grass - beyond excited to check if any of my ‘traps’ had worked.

I was intent on catching mice or frogs or hedgehogs (or fairies - which held equal status in my infant eyes). Of course I never caught a thing. 

Style vs Substance

There is a snobbery in the gardening world about wildlife gardening. There, I’ve said it. But don’t be too outraged; there has been a corresponding snobbery in the conservation world about gardens in general for many a year! 

Some garden makers are guilty of looking down their noses at ‘wildlife gardens’, perceiving them too scruffy, alternative or unintentional to compete with the high art aspirations of ‘real’ gardens. Wildlife gardens are sometimes seen as lesser gardens, alright for children but not for the serious gardener. 

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