Good evening gentle folk of the blogosphere and I hope the weekend has started well for you one and all.
Tis a funny old thing is perspective, you know the way that you approach life, tasks, work, relationships etc. Take gardening for instance, not too far in the dim and distant past a garden for me was one of straight & raised borders, plants bought only for their looks, everything formal and easy to look after with a decent layer of bark to prevent weeds from taking hold and running riot, ample use of insecticides and herbicides to help keep the unwanted 'weeds' and 'pests' away, a formal pond with ornamental fish and I thought that I was helping nature.....pah!
But perspectives and viewpoints can be changed with a little education and if the mind is willing to learn. Take the term 'weed' for instance, so many of our native plants are called weeds by many gardeners these days yet what is a weed? To be honest it covers any plant you do not want in your garden and many gardeners take drastic action in the removal and prevention of these 'alien invaders' from their precious patches of perceived heaven. Indeed I was one such person, although never much of a gardener I tried to keep the garden 'just so' and devoid of weeds. I hadn't really thought about how far my view point and my gardening has changed until reading a post from a fellow blogger just the other day. The blogger in question is Bug Woman and her wonderfully informative blog is to be found here. Now Bug Woman posts are about the wildlife to be found in London and her scribing is accompanied by some wonderful photography. Now I was reading her most recent post (at the time of writing that is) in which every Wednesday she posts her 'Wednesday Weed' spot and as usual it was beautifully written, very informative and enhanced by her excellent pictures. The post was about a plant that most gardeners would dig up dismissing it as a 'weed', Red Dead-nettle, post to be found here. Yet, by the time I'd finished reading I knew that I had to introduce this annual and its perennial cousin the White Dead-nettle to my small patch, indeed a far cry from my perspective of yore. I commented on the good lady's post about the dilemma she now posed being as I refused to take from the wild unless something is in serious danger of being killed. She replied and mentioned perhaps that the t'internet could be a last resort answer. Last resort for moi? more like first stop off point, within minutes I'd found seeds for both and also had ordered Chicory and Red clover, these two for the developing meadow under my allotment Cider trees.
As I seem to mention on all my posts about the wildlife garden it is a compromise and having to serve several purposes certain plants have to excluded or controlled, such as planting a solitary Nettle that had attempted a one plant invasion in a large container instead of allowing it to run riot or destroying it. So my garden will never be truly wild due to the compromises but it certainly is a million miles away from the way that I used to garden, I've allowed Dandelions to gain a small foothold but compromise dictates that they will be deadheaded before seeds are set, Welsh poppy is in abundance around the boundaries and again they will be deadheaded although some seeds will be allowed to form and then spread around here and on the allotment, Lady's mantle has found her place, Wood Sorrel was in evidence before we even took over the garden, Lily of the valley was planted last year although it hasn't shown itself yet, what I think is Herb-Robert seems to be in residence, Perennial cornflower has been welcomed, Common Lungwort has just started to flower, Common violet is peeping from under the Honeysuckle, Common Solomon's-seal arrived last year from mother and there is a solitary piece of Common Duckweed in the pond though how on earth that arrived I have no idea. Many of these plants would have been uprooted and binned without me missing a beat but now? No these plants are welcome additions and bring far more to a garden than I once believed possible.
Yes compromise dictates that these plants will be managed but there is no such thing anymore as a weed as far as I am concerned, just beautiful plants to be admired and that repay me by adding diversity and providing sanctuary for all manner of wee beasties. There is still a long way to go for me and this garden, What was the small lawn, now a mudbath after a Winter of been trodden, dug and excreted upon by the terrible twosome, will this year have an fishpond in its place, but with Rudd not Goldfish or Orf in residence and will be surrounded by a mixture of native and cultivated plants. The lean-to that is planned will definitely have a living roof of mosses and other moisture loving plants and will be served by an automatic watering system from a reservoir of rainwater that I'm working on and hopefully the garden wall that borders one full side of the garden will be a 'living wall' this time next year. I have a tremendous amount to learn about wildlife gardening and achieving a compromise that achieves a good balance but everyday spent in the garden I see something new from a unidentified plant to the change in the frogspawn and everyday these small things inspire me to do my very best and hopefully I will be able to inspire others to open their eyes, minds and hearts and begin changing their perspective and their gardens for the benefit of wildlife. Just one last thought for you, have you ever considered how much land our gardens would cover if added together? It would make a sizable nature reserve would it not?
Til the next time, take care my friends,