natural gardening

I am talking about my garden. There are so many different types of garden and mine definitely doesn't have anything in rows. Not that I have anything against regimented gardens but I like mine to look wild. Not completely of course; I do like an area of green lawn, not necessarily grass though in my case.

When we moved into this house in 1995 I was thrilled to have a larger garden than in my previous one as I did like gardening. The problem is that this one is on a slope which means it is harder to maintain. It is about a third of an acre in all and the largest area at the rear is the part that slopes most.

The rear garden has a large lawn and a rock garden as well as a border down one side. The other side has a large hedge and very mature trees. I kept the design but had the shrubs removed from the rock garden in favour of alpines and other perennial flowers

Everything I do in my garden is aimed at encouraging wildlife. There are so many ways to encourage wildlife in any garden, no matter what its size. As I have grown older I don't enjoy the work like I used to and I do have a gardener who comes once a fortnight to cut the lawn and do any other big jobs like pruning, trimming the hedge once a year and any heavy digging.

The easiest way to attract wildlife, which anybody with a garden can do, is to grow insect friendly flowers. This means flowers which have lots of nectar that the insects like to feed on. The insects in turn will attract the birds as they are what the birds like to feed on. Native flowers are usually the best and are easily available in the form of seeds or bedding plants.

There are many native shrubs too, which are rich in nectar, if you have a large enough garden. The other benefit of a lot native shrubs is that they produce fruit which can also be eaten by the birds during the winter.

natural gardening

Close up of wild flowers in my meadow

I don't have weeds in my garden. Weeds are plants that grow where you don't want them! I like to call them wild flowers and most of them are so pretty. The lawn looks lovely with the yellow and white dots of dandelions and daisies. What better food for the birds than native wild flower nectar and seeds. If you have enough space it is a good idea to leave an area of your lawn to grow into a wild flower meadow.

Many meadows have disappeared over the years with modern farming methods and as a consequence of this our favourite insects, the butterflies, are disappearing rapidly

My wild flower meadow is at the side of my garage. The grass was never very lush there, which is good because the wild flowers don't have much competition then. The idea is to stop cutting the area of lawn and just see what grows. You can dig the grass out and plant wild flowers seeds, which are readily available at garden centres or anywhere they sell flower seeds. My meadow has been growing now for several years and apart from dandelions and daisies it has red and white clover, lady's smock, oxeye daisies, vetch, yarrow, primroses, buttercups, ribwort, plantain, sorrel, hawkbit, speedwell and many other. I also have cowslips but must admit I bought those.

Don't be tempted to dig up flowers from the wild to plant in your meadow, lots of them can be purchased form garden centres. These flowers are very attractive to all insects but I especially like to see the many bees and butterflies that they attract.

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