, pub-5666200498173575, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 Diary Of A Wild Country Garden: Are We Too Tidy In Our Gardens?

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 beautifully 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 the 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 about 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 a 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 it's not everyone's 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 wildlife 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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  1. Oh, I am one who prefers the natural look in my yard. Yes, it attracts lots of bees and butterflies and bunny rabbits too. Right now I don't even mow the back as it's filled with wildflowers and a jillion buzzing bees, insects, and skippers and butterflies. Manicured is definitely not the look for me.

    1. Your garden sounds just lovely Ruth. I love wildflowers and how wonderful with all those bees and butterflies :) Thank you for your visit and sharing your garden story.

  2. This time of the year in particular our back garden gets rather untidy, with leaves coming down as well as lots of small branches and twigs.

    I usually also have bigger branches and things that I need to burn in the last bonfire of the year, before having a good rake and sweep and getting ready for the winter.

    We always take care to look after our friendly wildlife though.

  3. I think in Autumn its almost inevitable that things will get a bit messy in the garden with all the leaves coming down. It sounds like the way you do your garden gives plenty of time for the wildlife to take advantage of the natural fall of leaves etc yet maintaining a nice looking garden. I know from watching your videos that you do have quite a lot of wildlife visiting your garden which is wonderful! Thank you for visiting, good to see you :)

  4. I couldn't agree with you more. Even if I wanted an immaculate garden we wouldn't manage it - there's just too much of it! I love nature and nature gardens, where would the creatures go if we didn't give them some space in our lives and our gardens? Is it really a garden without any nature taking part in it anyway? It sounds sterile to me, the nature that appears in my garden touches my heart. So I'm with you - wilderness, nature, wild plants and homes for all living things in my garden... :)

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment. Yes an immaculate garden would certainly take a lot of time I think! That is lovely that the nature that arrives in your garden touches your heart, yes I agree. Thank you for your visit.