The Goldfinch

The garden continues to be my favourite place in the world, and today I was thinking about the role that accidents and luck can play in making gardens amazing.

For instance last winter there was a storm which blew most of our fence panels over. For various reasons one of these languished on the lawn for longer than it should have, and when we lifted it up and replaced the rotten posts and the old panel, we discovered that the lawn beneath was rather dead. We watered this patch and hoped it would recover, and to our surprise, in place of the grass which had previously been there, a little patch of wild flowers has appeared. The area is dense with self heal, white clover, jolly dandelions, and daisies. Some wild grasses have appeared too, and several plants which I cannot identify.


Although it destroys the neatness of the lawn to retain this little wild patch, when we saw how much the bees seemed to like it, Mark decided he would mow around it.





Truly, it is the most mysterious and lively patch in the garden.


Very happily, a Goldfinch has taken to visiting our weed patch to feed. It is shy and will not allow me to get close, but it did linger nervously in the trees round our garden long enough for me to get these blurry shots.




I am learning which of the trilling noises I often hear in the garden is produced by this very handsome bird, and am very relieved that neglecting to fix the fence panels has unexpectedly created a little wild patch, beloved by birds and bees, and full of things that we would not have known to plant.

Hurrah for happy accidents and the Goldfinches that they sometimes bring.

7 Responses to The Goldfinch

  1. Karen Kennedy says:

    I have shared this to my friends for their inspiration. thanks

  2. Elaine says:

    Isn’t it amazing what happens in a Surprise Garden? Perhaps a packet of wildflower seeds planted this fall will bring more surprises next spring. I can’t believe that you have dandelions!! They are a real menace over here. Maybe a dish of seeds or your little Finch?!!

  3. Hurrah for ‘weeds’ – vastly underrated I think. Goldfinches are my favourite birds (along with herons). I am so glad you have one regularly visiting your garden.

  4. Terry says:

    I love your wild patch and the lovely goldfinch, too, which looks quite different than the ones we have here in the US. I lazily let my grass grow WAY too long this spring – I claimed it was to let it go to seed thus making a thicker lawn, but really it was laziness – and the Creeping Charlie took over the bottom half of the yard. When I went out to pick up sticks before mowing, I noticed HUNDREDS of bees of several varieties buzzing among the Creeping Charlie flowers, so I decided then and there to leave the back twenty feet up to the back fence, just as it wants to grow, and to leave an 18-inch-wide strip along the west fence of Creeping Charlie for the bees, and it looks surprisingly nice. (My neighbor to the east would NOT appreciate the C.C. but the west-side neighbor doesn’t give a hoot, yay him!)

    To my delight, some native Sweet Cicely has sprung up in the back strip, next to my (wildlife-benefitting) brush pile.

    I believe another benefit of putting off mowing so long is that I have a bumper crop of fireflies this year! Dozens and dozens of them, all charming the heck out of my little 75′ x 47′ back yard.

  5. Allison says:

    What a lovely bird! If I ever live in a temperate climate, I think a wild garden will be the kind that comes most naturally to me…

  6. Helena says:

    We get loads of goldfinches in this part of London, they flit around in little gangs with their bouncy flight going from one patch of seeding flowers to another. I love their constant chatter on the wing, it always sounds like they are talking about where they are going next, or what party they should attend later in the day, or what lovely grass seed they’ve spotted over the next fence line. Beautiful birds and so exotic looking!

  7. Valerie says:

    There’s a green ‘patch’ (way too small to be called a park) beside the busy main road where I live. It’s usually mown, but there’s a narrow border left wild & woolly. It’s now home to various daisies and poppies, & I’ve taken to scattering flower seeds on it as I pass by! But why I’m commenting is that there’s a yellow flowered weed growing amid the poppies. Don’t know its name, but lately it’s been smothered by yellow & black striped caterpillars. All munching away. I’m so glad some over enthusiastic gardener didn’t ‘tidy up’ those weeds as the caterpillars clearly love ’em.
    I think its great that you’ve let part of your garden get a bit wilder. Nature really will provide food for birds, insects etc if only we let it.
    Best wishes

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