It’s autumn, so my gardening to-do list is longer than during those lazy summer days of light irrigation, the occasional pass with the lawnmower and a bit of deadheading to encourage just a few more blossoms. I am a dedicated but sometimes slothful gardener, happier to carry the weight of guilt than wield the clippers more than absolutely necessary.
The lawn is green and full, but not always with grass; the flower beds are alive with color, butterflies, bees and hawkmoths, and not a few unsprayed aphids.
And a confession: I don’t always pick up the windfallen apples and plums right away. I sometimes let them nestle under the trees, earthbound air fruit, and watch the birds feed and fight over them. Guilt’s sharp prods aren’t as persuasive as watching the birds swoop in to feast.
Now I’ve found some vindication, or at least a bit of support that my shaggy approach isn’t all bad.
Our rural corner of France is being built upon at an astonishing rate, developed, redrawn in asphalt lines, flat lawns and Lego-straight hedges.
But according to more than a few sources, a garden allowed to get a bit fuzzy around the edges is a garden that encourages more life for the locals – birds, small mammals, beneficial insects, and the plants themselves. With an wary eye still kept on the spread of any invasive species, allowing a bit of chaos is all in the order of life.
Leaving the fallen fruit returns nutrients to the ground, and draws insects, which in turn attract native wildlife.
We see the occasional hedgehog waddling up the length of our garden wall this time of year – I’ll be leaving the garden gates open and a pile of leaves heaped near the woodpile just in case.
By which I mean to say, I am ready for another cup of tea, and I might not get through today’s gardening to-do list. Again.
Gardenista post – Could we please be less fanatically tidy by Kendra Wilson
The Wildlife Gardener by Kate Bradbury