Wild and about wild.....
Lynda Brown - 16 September 2011
Not food for once (though that, too. PS I"m with Nik Darlington) but my garden, which I've always kept pretty wild, but this year seems to have become a mass of full on anarchic froth. To a 'normal' gardener, it's a mess, nothing short of an eye sore. To me it's pure Monet. That's basically because, though it's stuffed full with flowers, shrubs, veggies,herbs and such fruit as I squeeze in, apart from the occasional hacking back and dead heading roses, I don't actually do much too it. The big difference this year , I think, is that I didn't bother cutting the patch of grass which passes for a lawn at all.The result is a veritable nature reserve - I seem to be keeper of the national collection of insects without even trying.
Puzzling over this (as you do...) I've worked out that an unmown 'lawn' is brilliant cover for just about everything - which means whoever takes up residence be it a spider, frog, furry thing, or something strange and wonderful, can roam all over the garden at will . I also literally don't have any bare earth - again brilliant for getting around, and providing ready made homes - achieved by letting plants roam where they want, and relying on weeds to fill in the gaps. Not quite . Brambles, and creeping buttercup you absolutely need to keep under control; bindweed , another strangler of all things, is easy to spot and yank out, but if you miss it has pretty flowers; ground elder I've decided not to worry about, enjoy, and just dig up strategically, or when I need a bit of space for something else.
The other thing that helps, I think, is letting annuals and biennials seed themselves. More seeds and insects means more birds - I've discovered bullfinches, for example, go mad for seeds of sweet rocket, and I've even spotted a sparrow. Lots of different weeds, nettles and herbs (oregano flowers seem to be a hot favourite) means all sorts of bees , butterflies,and hover flies; a tichy pond means newts - or did until a heron came to visit in spring.
Anyway that's what I like to think . Besides, no time to garden - too busy watching Mother Nature enjoy herself!.
Lynda is an award-winning food writer and broadcaster, and keen advocate for organic living. She is author of several food books over the last twenty years including Planet Organic: Organic Living, The Cook's Garden, and The Modern Cook's Handbook, as well as writing The Preserving Book that was published in 2010 in association with the Soil Association. Lynda is an expert on food and nutrition and a seasoned broadcaster, regularly speaking on food and farming both on the radio and television.