One of my New Years Resolutions for this year was to spend more time in the garden, now that we actually have a proper one, complete with real grass and everything.

Our garden back in Brentwood was very, very small – a tiny pen filled with rocks. Even so, I would still sit out on the step, and I still planted bulbs in what little dirt we had. The garden is the thing I appreciate having the most in SNO – and I definitely spent a lot of time in it this year. Now that it’s Autumn it looks even more beautiful than it did back in the summer, thanks to the riot of colour and all of the local wildlife flocking back.

Today I thought I would share some images and updates.

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You may or may not remember my post on the aviary we had built back in the Spring. (The tour isĀ here) Well a lot has gone on in there since I last posted. Almost all of our birds are now living in there (bar one Zebra Finch who cannot fly) and so are our two button quails – Popcorn and Sugarpuff.

We actually reared three chicks for Popcorn and Sugarpuff (you can read about thatĀ here) but they rejected them. Instead they went and had eight of their own chicks! Sadly two died – eight chicks just wasn’t a realistic number for them, so we now have six. Six cute little Autumnal quail!

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I took those photographs a couple of weeks back. Now they have feathers you can clearly see what colours they are (a mix of grey, white, grey and white plus brown – so cute.)

They aren’t the first chicks to be born in the aviary though. Two of zebra finches sneakily managed to hatch out and raise a chick of their own during the Summer. Now that it’s Autumn he has his full feathers and looks very beautiful.

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It’s harder now to get out in to the garden during the week – what with the dark mornings and evenings now drawing in – my work schedule doesn’t really seem to work with the fleeting daylight hours. But on Saturday mornings I like to get our there and peer in to the aviary to see how the birds are changing and growing. During this time of year the plumage on our canaries seems to get more colourful (but maybe that’s just me not being able to see them everyday!) My favourite canary has burnt orange/brown patches – he looks very Autumnal at the moment!

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The three outdoor Japanese quail (Bon Bon, Flump and Cookie) are all still doing okay. We put boards up over the wire enclosure when it rains because they tend to be a bit silly and just sit out in it. I was worried about them during bonfire night but it turns out they weren’t in the slightest bit phased at all. They’ll have to come inside soon though as their home isn’t suitable or proofed for the Winter months, but for now a bit of extra hay keeps them warm and cosy.

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That’s probably more than enough bird updates for anyone, but we have also seen a return of robins – something which makes me very happy. I haven’t managed to capture any photos yet but I will be sure to do so as the month wears on. One day I even spotted a huge bird of prey on our fence – sadly I couldn’t work out what it was, but it was very beautiful. Unfortunately for us it was almost definitely there because of our quails, which means that particular bird, although wonderful, certainly isn’t welcome in our garden!

The leaves on the tree behind our gate are all turning a gorgeous shade of yellow now. It really is quite something to look at! We also have a bush in our garden that is turning fiery red. I can’t remember it doing so last year which is odd. It looks very pretty though.

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Despite the leaves turning and the very obvious presence of Autumn in our garden we are still seeing plants grow and flowers bloom. I was incredibly surprised to see the Dahlia I planted months ago finally flower – it is absolutely huge, and gorgeous too – but quite funny to see alongside the Autumnal foliage!

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It has a couple of heads on it – some of which are starting to open up. I’ve no idea how long it will last but as the weather has been quite mild I’m hoping it has a couple more weeks left yet!

We’ve also had some other flowers hanging on in there, but I’m not quite sure what they are. I planted so many bulbs and seeds but forgot to keep track – I’m definitely more of an accidental gardener than anything.

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Now that it’s getting colder I’m making sure to keep on top of the bird feeder and put out the necessary seeds and fat balls required to see the garden birds through the tough Winter months ahead. We also get about three (that I have seen!) hedgehogs visit our garden so putting out cat food is another must. I’d love to take a photo of the hogs but really would hate to startle them with my cameras flash…so maybe not!

Although I absolutely love my garden as it is right now – at peak perfection for me – I’m also looking forward to seeing how it changes during Winter. Last year we were lucky enough to witness snow, and I’m hoping for the same again!

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