My table is the culmination of 12 years and nine generations of design refinement. Intended to withstand everything suburban nature can throw at it, the table will have low-key looks and hold uncounted hundreds of pounds of potted plants, rocks, fossils, bones and other garden artifacts. It has to be strong. Some of my older plants are reaching a size that is hard for me to lift.
Yes, I am known for choosing strange things to use ‘for scale’ in my pictures. What would you imagine the useful life of this installation should be given it’s mass and sturdiness? A century, at least! Alas, no. I already know my table will likely be struck for resources by the time it is three years old. What force of nature will bring it down? Not a winter storm, earthquake or hurricane. It is the dreaded Mourning Dove. Here is the photographic evidence:
They forage for tiny seeds and dig around the edges of any blocks or pavers I put down, undermining them and causing them to drift out of position. Eventually the table tilts. It has happened to every one I’ve ever built. I try to share my yard peacefully with the creatures that live there. As soon as I build anything new with my blocks a little Anole lizard runs up it and claims it as his own, waving his dewlap and doing push-ups and I am delighted. The local ducks lie down for an afternoon nap in the shade underneath the tables and I work elsewhere so as not to disturb them. Apart from the usual birds I have seen Indigo Bunting, Catbird, Ovenbird and Robins forage there and turtles have nested there more than once. It would please me to have these doves enjoy my work… if they could control their destructive nature!
Birds account for most of the mischief in this garden. Cardinals enjoy my tables, my microsprinklers and my gritty soil mix but they can’t leave a plant label alone. I have seen them pull one label after another and throw it over their shoulder. Because of them I now make a photographic record of my plants and their names. Look for my next article: The Cardinal: GARDEN TERRORIST.