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just read your post and its lovely to hear that i'm not the only one who leaves there garden messy over winter.there are so many animals who benefit from this and it also saves my back ache in autumn!
Sounds lovely, Kate. When we got our (v overgrown) allotment around this time last year, there was a lovely old toad living in a hollow in the ground. Having inadvertently exposed him, I hastily piled all the leaves back on top but it was too late: next time I went back, he'd moved on. Gardens are much friendlier places for wildlife, methinks, than allotments. Having said that, I'm hoping to put a pond on mine next year. Hopefully I won't get drummed off by the allotment association!
I'm right there with you on this.....I have always felt it right to let things alone in autumn, too. Thanks for the vindication of what have been called my "lazy" habits!
My friend calls my garden "uncontrolled" but I call it wildlife-friendly. The beauty of it comes not just from the plants but from the birds, bees, butterflies, amphibians, mammals etc which have been made welcome by my creating habitats for them. Everyone can do the same by just being a little bit more uncontrolled. After the harvest, relax and enjoy the fruits of your labour and leave the garden to look after itself and the wildlife. Being too tidy is the eighth deadly sin.
I am looking for something to grow at the front of my house which is in the shade. I have tried various climbers but not much success and would like some kind of flowering plant. Any suggestions? thanks


My garden is managed with wildlife as a helper/fellow user, at all times. Nature perfected composting long before we arrived and so I feel that it is best to leave plant debris to fall/rot in situe, hence recycling nutients where they are needed! xx
Thank you all for reassuring me. Just had an op and not allowed to do any lifting or digging so feeling very guilty because my very overcrowded little garden was looking such a mess. Now I feel much better about leaving it until spring and can enjoy the wildlife instead
TracyHall, a shrubby potentilla (fruticosa) will flower its heart out in the shade. it has little to medium sized flowers in white or yellow or tangerine or red so take your pick. They are like little roses as it is the same family but no prickles and flowers incessantly all over the bush which is round. Garden designers find it hard to place in their designs ut i think it would suit your situation perfectly. The National Trust have a lovely yellow variety with big flowers in their shrerbaceous borders at Barrington Court.
having read this blog,i would so love to sit back and leave all the leaves that drop into my garden, front/back,however my house is situated right next to woods with monster oak trees that are hundreds of years old,i have to regularly this time of year and on a daily basis clear away oak leaves that fall onto my lawn,if i dont the leaves ruin my not to bothered about the leaves on the borders but the lawn area drives me mad..... is it true that oak leaves dont rot down? [well not for years and years anyway]..... im in the garden today putting up some bat boxes and also making a home for my new neighbour 'spike' who moved in a good few months ago... [a hedgehog...] at the mo he keeps sleeping in the shed,as ive left the door open for him,i bet as ive brought a hog house he will not sleep in it,,,,, he or she is absolutley adorable and it snoars...
I have what I would call a medium sized well stuffed garden, every available space has a plant but I also like my garden to look tidy and well presented. During the Spring and Summer I keep the plants in order pruning, deadheading, sweeping up and generally staying in control. However come Autumn/Winter all of that goes out of the window, I take a back seat and the garden is left to Mother Nature. Leaves are left to return to the soil, the dead foliage is left on the plants until spring for protection and seeds for the birds. Any substantial prunings are put on a small log pile and all the soil and bedding plants from summer containers are put on the compost heap. The results speak for themselves from a very, very small pond we have many frogs and newts who keep the slug population under control, we also have damselflies, hoverflies, butterflies, moths many varities of bees, insects I do not recognise. We have had Hedge Sparrows, Blackbirds and Sparrows nesting and though the Goldfinches do not nest in our garden we have them queuing up for our thistle feeder when they are feeding their young. It never ceases to amaze me as to what wildlife turns up in our garden and we don't live in the country but in the middle of a modern housing estate.
Hear hear! Gardening ought to be a pleasure not too much hard work. I'm a very messy gardener but am rewarded by the wildlife here - plenty of ladybirds, bugs and beetles also many tiny frogs this year and lots of birds. Nature knows best and just needs a little help from us, not interference.
landscaped my garden in aprail,got rid of grass and made large aeras for planting flowers,shrubs.A snall pond with marsh marigold and yellow iris,the frogs love the logs and the york stone drywalling around the borders.I compost everthing and have now got a new friend that watches every move i make very closely ron the robin.
anonymeous that is lovley please show a picture of ron the robin that is a lovley story x
My house used to be rented out and as a result the garden was a tip. It was frequented by birds of all kinds, amphibians and all maner of insects and butterflies. Although it was that bad I couldn't use it. Now it's orderly, most of the wildlife has moved out. Gardening flies in the face of mother nature. Its a process where natural plants that thrive are removed and pretty plants are artificially supported. It's ceases to be survival of the fittest to become survival of the prettiest. Gardening is such a human concept of nature.
Its a funny old time autumn. Theres the hint of sadness that summer is over but for me as a container vegetable gardener, I've got all sorts of planting jobs to do as well for the over winter veg.


Forgive my ignorance as a relatively new gardener, but whilst I agree and see the benefits of leaving the tidying until spring to help the wildlife I face a dilemma. I have lots of bulbs to plant this autumn for spring, but I can't see how I can do this without tidying up as the borders are pretty crammed. I know the answer is probably really simple and looking at me right in the face, but I woud be grateful if you could advise.
Just do as I do and push back the leaves, pop in a bulb, then put the leaves back. Works a treat. I have been doing it for years and sometimes the leaves have not rotted by the time the snowdrops arrive and it is amazing how the sharp tip of the snowdrop flower will pierce through a leaf.
I am very new to gardening (well paving stones with lots of containers), and just recently I have come out every day to find piles of worm like soil, pushed up between my paving stones. does anyone have any idea, what is causing this and whether I should be concerned/dong something, as I am fast losing the soil between my slabs. Oh and the Clematis is very sad, how can I cut this back and perhaps start again. I did say I was new to this... :)
In my gardens I like to cut back some of the perennials, and leave the ornamental greasses as well as the Daisy-like flowers for their seed heads to feed the birds. The leaves? Well I remove some of them, put before winter comes, there is always more that have blown in, so I leave them (They cover the plants and offer some winter protection)! My rose pruning I waite for Spring also. Planting tulips involve pushing aside the left over leaves, and planting away.