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My Hub gets an update!

I am very lucky to have a unique building in my garden. Last year, when I was planning my stand for Gardeners’ World Live, I appealed on Twitter for someone who could turn my ideas into reality. My plan for the show included a pretty amazing building that would form the centre piece of the stand…. a building that I designed that would act as my ‘Wildlife Central’…. my WildifeKate Hub!  Phil Clark, a master carpenter up in Tebay, contacted me and sent me some amazing pictures of a garden building he built around a tree in a client’s garden. We started talking, and the rest is history! To cut a long story short, Phil and I became good friends as he slaved to not only build this Hub from my sketches, but to then transport it from the Lake District to the NEC in Birmingham and to build it on the stand! It looked spectacular and received a lot of amazing comments!

At the end of the show, it all had to be dismantled and last August, Phil and his partner, Donna, returned and we rebuilt the hub in my garden and I moved in!! It has been a totally amazing space for me and I started feeding the birds out on the lane side and photographed from the small window on this side. I began to realise that this area was great for feeding and brill for photography as it is high up, above the lane, which runs about 12 ft below. This means that the background to any photos is far away, throwing it out of focus. The light is pretty good here too…. so I started dreaming of having a larger window here…. one which I could not only watch the birds, but I could photograph them from too.

The photos I had already taken were through the glass… a high quality 4mm single pane. Due to the darkness of the hub inside, the birds cannot see me and will feed cm from the window, which is wonderful!

I contacted Phil and told him about my ideas. I wanted him to do the work, as the hub is very much our project… something we created in partnership and I cannot imagine letting anyone else work on this special space! This week, Phil and Donna drove all the way from the Lake District , back to Lichfield to help me out… well, I watched whilst Phil worked his magic!  

To fit a large new window meant Phil had to build a new window frame and remove the existing window. ….

Once the small window was removed, Phil measure up and put some strengthening diagonals into the structure of the Hub. We propped up the roof (which is pretty heavy now as I have a green, growing roof!) and he jigsawed out the shape of the new window…. it was HUGE!!!!

Phil then fixed in the glass and  added all the edging and finishing touches… it was looking AMAZING!!!!

I kept Phil fed and watered and watched as he turned my Hub into an even more amazing space! As the light began to fade, an exhausted Phil and I admired his handiwork!


Phil and Donna headed home and I just can’t thank him enough for what he has managed to achieve here… it has totally transformed the space… it feels so much larger and of course it is so light and airy now!

So…. the ‘befores’ and ‘afters’….

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Today, I have had a chance to try a few test shots after tidying, sorting and painting the frames… the light was fading somewhat but I am very excited by the potential here. I concentrated on feeder shots today, but I am setting up perches and other natural spaces and platforms for the birds to feed from. Here are a few ‘tasters’….

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You will be seeing a lot more photos from this space over the Autumn and Winter I can assure you. I just want to say a huge thank you to Phil for his amazing work, once again. I hope he can find time to come down with his camera and watch and photograph from this lovely spot!


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