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  1. There's been a robin in our garden ever since we moved here nearly 7 years ago.  I've always thought it's the same one, though doubtless if this is unlikely someone will correct me (how old does a robin get before it is too old and must make way for a younger bird?).

    He greets me when I go outside the back door, more often and more enthusiastically when I venture past the patio.  On these occasions I am usually going to the compost bin or the shed at the bottom of the garden, only a few steps further along.  He is very attentive, interested in what I am doing, scolding if I can't give him time or conversation.  Recently I've watched him scratching in the newly-mulched border, dragging out tasty treats and gobbling them up with a greedy eye for more.

    It is quite clear that my garden is also his garden; there are no other such territorial birds allowed within the bounds.  In fact late last spring I watched him shooing away several competitors, an exhausting effort for such a small creature.  He did it though, and sat proudly chirping away in the conifer and then on the fences either side, showing off his prowess at 'keeping others out'.  It seems I have a "guard bird", kind-of.

    There's a robin on my plot at the allotment too.  Now, if the one at home is fussy about his patch, my allotment friend is so much more so.  He has even been known to shoo away much larger creatures - birds, yes - and a fellow plot-holder, once (they had to stand on the path and talk to me from there or get dive-bombed, repeatedly).  Though he didn't seem so bothered by a lone blue-tit who was even allowed to sit in the same tree.

    So I am coming to learn the sounds of the robin as he goes about his work.  I missed them a bit over the past cold winter and wondered if they'd still be there once it warmed up a bit.  But they are back there again, in my garden and on my plot and I love these two places all the more for it.

  2. For this easy project you will need:

    1 mini trough with drip tray
    Small bag bulb fibre compost e.g. J. A. Bower's
    miniature daffodil bulbs (you could also make this with crocuses and snowdrops, though you will need more bulbs)
    Clip the drip tray to the bottom of the trough

    Use half the compost to fill the trough

    Tap gently on a table top to level compost - do not firm it with your fingers

    Place bulbs, evenly spaced, about halfway up their height into the compost, with roots downwards
    Bulb planting
    Top up with the remaining compost

    Tap gently again to level compost - do not firm it with your fingers
    Water gently from above once per week so it comes out of the bottom and into the tray

    Leave in a warm bright position e.g. on your kitchen windowsill

    Bulb shoots should appear in 2-3 weeks
    Flowers should appear around Christmas/early January 2011

    This project will be done as part of the regular PATCHWORK meeting at St Paul's Church, Swansea on Wednesday 8th December.  Why not come along and join in?!