Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

UGPs and tolerance

FAQ: Do your hens damage your garden?

The short answer is 'YES'

The longer answer is 'You have to adjust your tolerance level and balance the joy of allowing the hens to roam free over the lawn and among the flower beds with your standards of garden neatness'

About a month ago the under-gardeners' unauthorised gardening project (UGP) had exceeded our tolerance level. We had to do something to stop a quarter of our lawn being totally stripped of grass and we had to do it fast and without spending loads of money. At the local builders' merchant we found the answer – a 50 metre roll of orange netting suitable for road works and detering determined hens. This has had the desired affect (although the under-gardeners have demonstrated their ability to cross over, under and around the barrier), but does make the garden look like the inside lane of the A14. And the studio assistants think it's a squirrel enclosure constructed for their entertainment.

Meanwhile the under-gardeners have started a number of small scale UGPs . . .

UGP No:1 Scattering paved areas with stones raked from the borders . . .

UGP No:2 Digging out the gravel surrounding the pond . . .

and last but not least

UGP No:3 Shredding the large patch of white bluebells . . .

Do they look guilty?


  1. Not at all guilty I'm afraid! But they are rather beautiful!

  2. Perhaps rather pleased with themselves, though!

  3. They are so guilty! But butter wouldn't melt in their mouths, if you take my meaning!

  4. funnily enough, mine don't decimate the grass at all. They trim the tops off though, which is handy.

    But planting onion sets in is another matter altogether. I have to put thermal fleece tunnels up to stop them scratching them up. Ditto with anything that's sown in drills. Last year I ended up with a few wonky rows of carrots thanks to my particular undergardeners.

    Look guilty? As if ;)

  5. It looks as though those white bluebells were a gourmet feast!

    Your hens always look so happy, Celia. It must be because thay are such busy people...

  6. Those are some shifty looking hens!

  7. No. Not guilty at all. In fact, very pleased with a morning's hard graft. And what a good job they did of it too!

    My girls took to the newly planted salvia's with delight, reducing them to little straggly stumps. Sigh. You are right - you just have to adjust your ideas about the garden.

    Another good trick I saw recently was using the same netting you have put up but pegging it over the ground. This was to keep mulch around the fruit trees which my girls love to remove on every excursion out.

    Beautiful garden Celia - we are on the verge of winter here so everything is bare and brown.

  8. Of all the chooks we had over almost 20 years, the best were the Light Sussex bantams. They were first out and last in and their favourite "patch" was the rough bracken and scruffy lomandra (mat rush), well away from pretty things. The others? Like yours, multiplied by 10. Oh, don't EVER get peacocks!!!!!

  9. Those girls are saying:

    "It was her!"
    "No, I'm not, it's you what rip all flowers"
    " I surrently not ripped nothing, I love white flowering plants.."


I love reading all the comments (except for spam and advertising which I will delete) and I'll reply here in the comments under each blog post, it may take a few days if I'm busy.
You don't need to have a blog to leave a comment, you can select the name/URL option and fill in just your name instead of a blog link.