Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Are We Too Tidy In Our Gardens?

I was thinking about this, are we too tidy in our gardens?

I love to see a beautiful neat and tidy garden, everything with a place and everything in its place. I have a friend whose garden is like this and I have to say it is very restful - for people.

You can walk across the lawn- not grass- a proper lawn, and even barefoot you would not sting yourself on a rogue nettle sapling, or hope to meet with a bee or wasp. 

Each flower is in its place and as soon as it fades the seed head is plucked off and replaced by another beautiful flower. My friend loves her garden and I love her garden...but the wildlife... they don't love it so much.... We discuss this and well the debate is ongoing.!

I also have to say my garden is, somewhat sadly, not like that! It is not by design it is just the sort of garden that does not lend itself to over tidiness, it would not look or feel right. It is intrinsically for the wildlife and it is theirs.  

We have left some of the leaves that fell when we did some pruning, they are lying on the ground near and under the shrub. Beetles and all manner of little insects have already moved in. When I turn a leaf there is a whole colony of critters there. 

Worms come up and pull down some of leaf litter while others munch across the top. In turn birds find a worm or other creature for lunch. We often see blackbirds kicking up the leaves to see what they can find underneath. Our resident Robin eagerly watches the ground for signs of breakfast. 

We have a small nettle patch- for the butterflies to lay their eggs. We avoid it as it is certainly not comfortable for people and we contain it best we can to that one area. For our small sacrifice we have lots of colourful butterflies!  

Our grass-not lawn- is scattered with an assortment of other plants -some call them weeds- yet the bees and wasps seem to appreciate them and the clover and daisies look so pretty when in flower. My husband does a valiant job of mowing every week, yet the native plants somehow always spring back.

 In spring and summer we do have to be careful for bees, who coast across the top looking for nectar. We hear their gentle humming noise and they sound content. 

We have a small log pile in one corner, mostly out of sight, a few leaves and sticks around it. It is wonderful shelter for bugs and woodlice and also for the hedgehogs who grace our garden sometimes. We think we are so lucky to see hedgehogs. Maybe its not every ones idea of a garden feature but they like it and so do we. 

It saddens me to see more paving going down instead of grass or plants  in some neighbours homes - the paving is for easy maintenance. One person told me recently they are laying artificial grass so no more mowing!

 If we continue like that where will the worms and bugs and bees and birds and hedgehogs live and feed? Thank goodness our immediate neighbours love birds and wildlife too so at least we have a small corridor for them to roam.

Yes we have our nice patio area and our beautiful pots of flowers and we keep things there and nearer the house very tidy. It is quite possible to have a wildlife friendly garden that also looks quite nice.

You may have to bear a little more untidiness than you would otherwise, especially in the Autumn/Fall but  in my opinion the rewards are tenfold. 

For me I do want a beautiful garden, certainly,  but never at the expense of the wild life who love our garden so much. 

If we don't make a place for nature, where will nature live? 


What is your view, are we too tidy in our gardens, do we need to accept wildlife more or is a neat pristine garden better? 


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