February 01 2012
Lucia van der Post
The world of birds used to be a taste-free zone. These days, however, designers are turning their attention to our feathered friends and their needs. Perhaps it’s the result of last year’s tough winter, when even London was covered in snow for days on end; or perhaps it’s just that the time has come for even this last design-free bastion to be given a makeover.
Take Sparrow & Finch, a charming company that specialises in sleek, modern pieces for gardens and wildlife. It has ineffably chic, plain grey window boxes and trugs (£39 each), the geometric Hever Planter (£250) and the austerely plain Gardener’s A-Frame (£125). There are bird feeders, too, including one called The Wolseley (£39).
But the items that caught my eye were the birdhouses – as many and varied as anything Costain or Wates ever came up with. Choose from The Four Seasons (very plush and spacious, £99), Claridges (turrets and medieval windows, pictured, £450) or The Langham (chic and modest, £39). They offer protection from wind, snow, rain and freezing temperatures, and also double as feeding tables.
As natural nesting sites are disappearing fast, providing shelter for some smaller birds (blue tits and great tits are the most likely to be enticed to settle in) will help to stop the decline of common garden varieties. Suffice it to say we now have one of Sparrow & Finch’s birdhouses, and a mighty lot of pleasure it has given us, not to mention the local avian community.