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These pigeons nesting on a balcony return every year.

Pigeons nesting on a balcony in Torquay.

Had to share this with you. A friend has had multiple generations of the same family of pigeons nesting on a balcony in his flat in Torquay! The latest chick is doing well and mum, dad and aunts and uncles attend to its every need.

baby pigeons nesting on a balcony in Torquay

This baby is a Survivor.

Out of four eggs this is the only survivor. Pigeons nesting on a balcony run the risk posed by hungry seagulls. This chick and its parents (and extended family) have also faced some of the worst weather seen for decades in the west country, heavy snow and torrential rain have taken their toll on all wild birds, meaning that competition for food has become intense.

A little chick like this would feed a seagull through to see another day. This was the fate that met his siblings.

pigeons nesting on a balcony
It’s raining hard and mum is covered in water droplets

Fun fact: Doves are pigeons. The distinction is class-based and without any genealogical merit. Street pigeons are just rock doves that went feral.


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The Leechwell in Totnes

Since the 1400’s there have been named wardens of the Leechwell in Totnes. The water was believed to cure leprosy among other things, and sick folks would journey to Totnes to get healed by the water. To this day there are still named wardens!

The three troughs (from left to right); Toad, Long Crippler and Snake (Long Crippler is an old fashioned name for a slow worm).

The Leechwell in Totnes: A Trilogy

Everything about the well is in threes; there are three pools into which the well pours, the well is sited at the junction of three lanes and the lower immersion pool is an equilateral triangle with sides thirteen feet long.

The Leechwell is located where the three lanes meet.

A surprise discovery.

The immersion pool has yet to be restored back to its former glory, but there are plans to include it into the wonderful Leechwell Gardens sited just downhill from the well. The triangular pool was only discovered recently and quite by accident.

The pool, which is actually triangular, was identified as an Immersion Bath associated with the Leechwell Holy Well and scheduled as an Ancient Monument by English Heritage in 2005 – Leechwell Garden Association

These beautiful old stone walls come at a price it seems. They are bowed out in several places. If you head up hill (the whole area is very steep!) to Maudlin Road, where the original Leper Hospital was sited, you can see a stretch of similar wall has been badly damaged by recent heavy rain. Luckily, no one was hurt.

Collapsed wall in Totnes Maudlin Road

The Maudlin Leper Hospital

The garden adjoins the grounds assigned to the Maudlin Leper Hospital on the slope above the garden in Maudlin Road. The Maudlin, like many leper hospitals, was established in the 12th Century. Like many, it housed about 12-14 brethren, not all necessarily lepers, and had its own chapel and well. Hospital rules generally required inmates to stay within the hospital grounds, so it is unlikely that they would have used the Leechwell or have been seen much in the town centre. Deeds record that the Maudlin grounds once included a ‘herbe’ or vegetable garden as well as an orchard. The Maudlin Leper Hospital gradually became redundant. It was pulled down and the grounds sold in 1719 – Leecchwell Garden Association

Tadpole season!

The gardens are run by a volunteer committee who have done a brilliant job in creating this great resource – a real asset to Totnes and a lovely way to spend time with kids. Right now you can watch tadpoles which have hatched up stream get washed down to the lower pool.

The Leechwell Garden Association welcomes new members, if you are interested in joining contact Lu Overy via email


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20% Discount On Everything Until March 17th!

discount code 20% off photo of British £10 note covered in £1 coins and change

Just a quick heads up

You can enjoy 20% off anything in our


Right up until midnight March 17th

From mimosa to marigold, copal to palo santo, enjoy 20% off with the discount coupon ‘SpringIsNear’ when you check out. No minimum purchase, coupon valid until March 17th 2018, one coupon per customer. Coupon will work regardless of payment type, we accept many cryptocurrencies Paypal and all major cards.

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The Hungry Gap in the Ornamental Garden

I’m a visual gardener, for me it’s all about seeing and being in beauty. The view of Hay Tor, the rook silhouetted at the very top of the highest branch. I need my garden to cheer me up, and we all know the first bite is with the eye. Alas, March is the hungry gap in the ornamental garden.

Although I grow little fruit or veg this is still somewhat of a ‘hungry gap’. The grass is messy but too wet to mow. The recent heavy snow has left the daffodils and pansies tattered and beaten. Set that under standard issue British grey sky and you are left needed to look closer to find the beauty.

Small jobs give a sense of hope that the garden will recover.

Doing a little weeding will mean I get on top of it before things really kick off. But more than that, it will get me outside on my knees face to face with pretty living things.

And that right there is food for the soul.

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Friends come in all shapes and sizes

We all need friends, especially in these divided times.

It’s worth remembering that friends come in all shape and sizes. They come in different colours. They come with different languages, different clothes, different food, music, the lot. Even when they may seem so different, the need for companionship is near universal.

So when we nervously introduced Steve, our cockatiel, to Heidi, a boustrous conure, we hoped for the best…. but feared the worst. If they didn’t get on then we might have ended up with a dead bird.

Steve was very reluctant at first but Heidi was having none of it. She persistently tried to entice Steve into play and preening. It was only when Steve discovered how nice the preening felt that the friendship was secured.

The lesson came later with the recent heavy snow.

We walked up the steep hill coming home past loads of deserted cars, and worryingly some with occupants inside. Temperature was set to plummet for the second night and people were trapped.

We invited four people back to our house so they could sleep on the floor in the warm. An interesting thing happened. Before going to bed I suddenly felt that I was taking a risk – I didn’t know these people… maybe they would steal from us?

I left the laptop I write upon on the kitchen table reasoning that it is so battered that no one would want it. But the brand new tablet computer I use to run our online shop, I hid. Now, I had spent a lovely evening with these people who were very nice. The next morning we all confessed to each other, the Polish lorry driver had a moment when he was thinking ‘am I going to get murdered?’, the three folks from Dartmouth had a moment when they wondered if they were safe? We all had experienced some sort of doubt.

But these people are all of us. The odds that any one of us would be deviant are the same as for the general population, they are as likely as anyone to be a decent person, and most people are.

There’s a bit of Steve in all of us but there’s also a bit of Heidi.

Resolutely believing in the goodness of strangers and putting companionship above fear makes the world a better place.

The two birds will see each other regularly as the arrangement means both their owners have bird sitters, and completely for free. When we work together better things can happen. Heidi now enjoys one of our new range of handbuilt Parrot Sticks (posh perches) and we look forward to seeing her again soon. The stranded stopovers all got home safe the next day and we have already been invited over to their place, so all’s well.

No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. – Devotions upon Emergent Occasions, John Donne (MEDITATION XVII)

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Get Some Vitamin Sea – Torquay To Thatchers Point

Vitamin Sea

In a week where the UK is expecting subzero temperatures and heavy snow, I have to remind myself to get some vitamin sea. We wrap up warm and take a walk along the South West coast path from Torquay to Thatchers Point.

Torquay Harbour from the vantage point on the Rock Walk

Much of the path between Meadfoot Beach and Thatcher’s Point has a small stone wall. Beyond this is a shear drop to the sea below. There’s something about the way the waves boil and swell about the rocks that left us feeling very alive.

Jurassic Coast

Thatcher’s rock is a scene of  specific scientific interest (SSSI). This is because it contains almost totally uninterrupted plant and animal life from millions of years ago! It’s  called the Jurassic Coast for a reason. Further along the Jurasic coast we have found beautiful fossils. Everything form ammonites to plants. On occasion larger fossils of mammals can be found. The best time to find these is after a storm when the weather has washed away fresh rocks form the cliffs revealing earth that has been hidden for millions of years.

Thanks for reading, do subscribe for discount codes in our shop, like this one for 20% off until the 17th of March 2018.

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Spring Is Near – Take 20% Off Our Entire Range!

As winter recedes behind us and we again enjoy longer days, lighter mornings and being outdoors more, we wanted to ring the change with a cheerful discount code!

If you order anything from our online store pop this code into the coupon box to enjoy 20% off your basket.


The code is valid until March 17th 2018 (St Patrick’s Day), only one per customer.

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February Colours – Spring is on its way

For many, including me, winter is the hardest time of year. I don’t mind the cold but do struggle with the dark. Therefore the earliest flash of new spring growth serves as natures messenger – this too will end.

In many ways January is the toughest month, with all the warmth of the Christmas season over and still a long way to go.

In that spirit I’m celebrating the garden. Here’s to a wonderful year.