Sins of a prodigal gardener

I did something terrible today. I didn’t mean to, but by the time I realized what I’d done, it was, really, too late.


I kind of gave up gardening last year, because it took too much time away from my writing. All I did was weed, and things didn’t look too bad, honestly.

This year, I got even lazier. Blame it on our long winter and late spring. Blame it on the fact that Phil had to rip up one of my trellises because he had to reroute the tube from the sump pump. Blame it on the road destruction construction going on right outside our door.

More than anything, you can blame it on me, because it’s my fault.

I started weeding, finally, a couple of weeks ago, taking a couple minutes here and there when Nuala wanted to sit in the driveway and watch the world. I’ve cleared out about half of the front bed.

Today, I decided to replace the trellis and reorder the Clematis vine and Engleman’s Ivy. I hadn’t even cleaned up last year’s dead vines and the new growth was all tangled up with the corpses.

I was careful to trace the one Engleman’s Ivy vine that had already grown up the side of the house and started to cut away all the old vines. It’s a weed-like plant and will take over your plot if you’re not careful, so I was uprooting the old growth as well.

Of course, in my fervour, I cut the one vine I thought I had specifically identified and set aside. I now have a jar of water to try and root the vine. I’ll have to replace it with a pot of soil if the vine survives. The cut was several inches above the ground.


Next, I set to trying to clear out the dead Clematis. I broke a few of those new shoots in that process as well.

Then I was what I thought was an old bird’s nest in the mess. I reached in and was about to remove it, but—

It wasn’t an old nest.

I discovered that fact (to my utter horror) when a small, downy body within it moved. There were five or six, each about the size of my fingertip.

Oh. My. God. I’m EVIL.

Mama and Papa Chipping Sparrow had been flying about and peeping at me the whole time.

The nest was almost completely exposed now. What could I do, but grab handfuls of cut vines and pile them up around the nest? It’s so close to the ground, though, I’m still worried that one of the neighbourhood feral cats is going to get them.

Fortunately, Mama and Papa returned to their fluffy family as soon as I cleared out.

It’s my hope that the babes will mature fairly quickly, and the cats will keep away long enough for that to happen.

The victims

The victims

Here’s a picture of the crime scene. The nest now perches precariously at a 45 degree angle, but Mama is curled up on top of the chicks. You can hardly see the nest. I’m hoping my camouflage is sufficient to protect them.

I feel so guilty, I can barely stand myself.

Nobody else seems to be upset about it, but I feel like I’ve committed avian infanticide, inadvertent as it may be.

Pray for the peeps. I know I am.

5 thoughts on “Sins of a prodigal gardener

  1. What a wonderful discovery Melanie! I feel for you (don’t feel guilty it wasn’t like you set out to destroy them) I am praying for the peeps 😀 I love cats but I also love birds and a couple of years ago had to decide between the two when our cat kept dragging in bird after bird into the house as ‘gifts’ – broke my heart.


  2. I’m sure they’ll be fine and you’ll still get to go to your Heaven. Accidents will happen. They shouldn’t be i that mess too long before they’re up, up and away.
    xxx Hugs Galore xxx


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