Pansies planted next to a pond.
Haven for Wildlife
The work is never done but Clive and Geraldine Silk would never swap their hobby as their garden is filled with butterflies, birds, bees and other wildlife.
A Guernsey couple have made an 11th Century Farmhouse a haven for flora and fauna after 25 years of work.
Along the way they've discovered hidden treasures and given a home to stray, homeless and rescued animals.
Their most recent project has seen them install a pond and waterfall which is popular with fish, frogs, ducks and birds of all types.
Clive and Geraldine's garden has all the features you would expect of a modern, environmentally switched on couple with compost heaps, vegetable patches, chickens to provide eggs and a goat providing milk.
Beyond this their garden is host to a wide variety of flowers, plants and trees which in turn attract a wide variety of insects and birds to the garden.
So with bees, butterflies, geese, goats, chickens, a dog, a cat, sparrows, starlings, ducks, owls and even bats making this their home, it is a busy area.
Clive and Geraldine feed their fish.
As if all that was not enough the couple are always looking for a new project to immerse themselves in: "When you feel like doing it - it's not a chore," said Clive.
In July 2006 Geraldine used divining to discover a well under their driveway. An old pump was the obvious sign of a well and when Clive dug down he found the ancient structure extended underneath the wall of the house.
It seems the well would originally have stood in the middle of the farm courtyard but an extension 300 years ago was built out across the former courtyard and part of the wall stands on a large granite slab above the well.
The Silk's goats.
Having completed the work to dig out and clean the well they had the water tested and now use it for all their and their animals' needs.
Having recently received a 'Highly Commended' in the Guernsey Insurance Corporation Conservation Awards 2007 after a last minute entry Clive said they would put the £500 prize to good use in setting up a more permanent home for some of the bees so that they could look into having honey in the future.
The couple have many stories to tell including when a field-mouse made its home in a flowerpot... and the year wasps made their nest in the house around the central heating pipes and then disappeared when summer came.
The best thing about this small piece of Guernsey which is providing a home for so many species is the joy and satisfaction that it obviously gives to Clive and Geraldine which is perhaps because of, rather than despite, their hours spent working on it.
last updated: 08/04/2008 at 12:40