Meet Patti O'Hare
Let me introduce you to Patti O’Hare – she’s the inspiration for all the hare designs you’ll find on my website. She is so called because, well, she’s a hare and sits on our patio in the spring on the lookout for other hares.
If it’s a sunny day, she may well have a snooze on the lawn. Sometimes she lies so still that I worry there’s something wrong – until her ears twitch and she stretches himself out to his full length.
Most of the garden now is pretty much a hare paradise. We have two wildflower areas which provide food and cover, but they are adjacent to plenty of open ground if speed is the safer option. We know that Patti will raid the veg plot from time to time and that’s ok because we think hares are more important than our veg.
There’s no doubt, however, that the whole family’s favourite food is dandelions. I tend a small patch on the edge of the patio just for them - we must be almost the only gardeners to actively encourage dandelions. Over the years, our hare family has learnt that it’s there and visit regularly, especially in the spring when the dandelion flowers are among the first to come out. It’s one of the great pleasures of spring to watch a hare eating a dandelion stalk from base to flower, that and chocolate eggs of course. If the hares don’t eat all the flowers (and there are plenty),the goldfinches will come later to feast on the seed heads – hopping around the patio within feet of us.
Patti is not alone
Patti, I’m glad to say, is not alone. All that sitting on the patio looking for other hares is not for nothing - Patti has a partner. You can often see the two of them snoozing or nibbling together. Occasionally, they will race round the garden at full pelt and then stop just as suddenly and return to nibbling. To be honest, it looks like a tempestuous relationship from time to time and Patti doesn’t always give the impression of being very affectionate. But in general, they seem pretty happy.
A leveret finds the dandelions
The first we knew that they had raised a family was when this leveret hopped on to the patio. Leverets are extremely well hidden (as they have to be) so the first we knew that Patti had successfully raised a family was when a tiny leveret hopped on to our patio and started feasting on the dandelion leaves. It was impossibly cute and seemed really too fragile for the wild world outside.