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Thanks for your comments, I've been thinking these thoughts for years, is it a marketing ploy for all of those companies who sell various attractive wildlife products to pretty-up our gardens, animals and wildlife would much prefer a wilderness to a pressteen garden, do you think there is a half way that we can all go to where we can please ourselves nad the wildlife....
I think there is, Frenchie, and many gardeners are trying to achieve it. We Should be like the farmers and put aside part of our garden for wildlife. I'm with you about lawns, Richard Many of the loveliest gardens have done away with such and have wild flower meadows to stroll through. As the price of western style food goes up because of increased demand it will be even more important for gardeners in this country to encourage pollinating insects to help vegetable growers, whether commercial or domestic, get better and better crops. I get as much a thrill from seeing beautiful bees, butterflies and birds in my garden as I get from a beautiful flower. But there is more satisfaction from hearing the appreciation of visitors of visitors to my garden who find my approach novel but lovely and definitely not boring which the droneof lawn mowers definitely is to me.
I totally agree with you. In the 60's when I came to this country,london was still full of bombed out buildings. In this chaos, Greater rosebay wiloowherb grew in abundance,and their were butterflies/moths everywhere night and day! But now,no willowherb,hardly any butterfies or moths. So much for progress!!
And just for those people who are not Dr Seuss aficionados, here's the link to the Cat in the Hat trailer. The requisite image is 5 seconds in.
The cat-in-the-hat image shows the problem well, and similarly green-but-sterile landscapes form the backdrop to both Tellytubbies and In The Night Garden - are we brain-washing our kids?


A very interesting piece Richard and something that most of us don't give a second thought to! Happy Marion, I like your comments about putting aside an area for wildlife like the farmers are encouraged to do (maybe we could be given some financial reward for this also - £100 per annum should do it!!) On a serious note I do already have dedicated wildlife areas which are purposely left unkempt and undisturbed, I am fortunate as I have space to do this. I am also fortunate to own part of a field at the bottom of our garden and I have been thinking for a while to do something with the 3 meter strip immediately behind the Hawthorn hedge to encourage more wildlife. Some is already used to let nettles grow for butterflies etc but I have a reasonable sized strip which I would love to plant like the farmers do. Does anybody know where I could get the 'farmers' seed mix to do this please? Higgy
Reply to Higgy 50. Why plant a seed mix? You could just let the local plants self-colonize. Wild plants are as much wildlife as insects, birds and other animals. The most important thing is to prevent nettles and other thick rank growth from taking over. The occasional run-over with a brush-cutter every few months maybe.
Hi Richard, Yes point taken. we are unfortunately overrun with horsetail and as we are on wet moorland as you can imagine it is quite a problem. We have allowed as much of the field just run wild since we have been here but not really gained much in the way of wild flowers. I was thinking of trying to establish some around the edges of my patch to sit alongside the rough wild areas? Maybe this wouldn't be appropriate for this type of land?
Higgy, I'm sure there are ways and means of getting wildflowers to thrive in your hedge edge. I have a fellow volunteer friend who regularly takes wild flower plants home from the Botanic Garden which we have weeded out from round our specimen plants and which have blown there from the wild flower meadow parts of the Bristol Downs nearby. She plants them in the meadow area she is making in her neighbourhood community garden. In July next year go out in the surrounding fields and collect wild flower seeds. That way you will be sure they are natives and should thrive for you. But you could pretty it up right now by planting some primroses and cyclamen. They should soon seed around.
Thanks Marion, I had planned on collecting some seed as you suggest, but with all these things I never actually got around to it in the end!! It is good advice and something I shall try and make time for throughout the year next year to try and get different things growing for different times. I suppose there will still be a few seeds about such as teasel etc so will make the effort when out with the dog this week! Still haven't managed a visit to the Botanic Gardens (again as planned!) but hopefully now things in my own garden slow down a little I'll get a chance to pop in soon. Many thanks Higgy
The autumn colour in the Botanic Garden, especially the grasses in the pollination garden among the lovely acers and the light red acer in the woodland edge against the black trunk of the old oak tree, is just spectacular, An artist's dream and not to be missed in this mild spell we are promised for this week, Higgy.
What an interesting thread! Beauty has become so many things - for many it seems to be a mixture of different idealogies which are influenced by trend, media and the general consumeristic nature of society. I work in a nursery specialising in Architectural Plants and I am often struck by just how many people fail to realise that plants are not simply pieces of furniture to be arranged neatly and according to the latest fad. What is missing so often in the approach to gardening and perhaps life too (!) is empathy. Order and formality can be sophisticated and impressive and these can be achieved beautifully but a wildflower meadow (for example)buzzing with life, colour, texture and movement - this just is, and can't be anything other than beautiful.I'm rambling on a bit now....thinking out loud I think they call it.....sorry everyone!
I call what you are doing a "Virginia Woolf", Mrs. P. Don't be afraid of it! And do continue to share it with us.


Yes I agree please do keep sharing your enjoyable 'rambles' with us Mrs P! I absolutely thoroughly enjoyed my wild flower 'lawn' this year and was amazed at the large variety of insects and butterflies it attracted this year when so many people were saying what a bad year it was for them! Luckily I have enough room for the area to have a few paths mown through it and watching my 4yr old daughter happily skipping around the paths and enjoying counting ladybirds put an even bigger smile on my face!...if you have some space to try it then I please do! My only advice would be to grow a few wild flower plugs to get you started as they will give you colour straight away in your first season whilst it gets established...then just enjoy it!
strange how this little Island is being concreted over when we should be learning a lesson from the damage already done. we are told every week on our country file programme how important it is to stop distroying our pleasant land, is it to late , have we already gone to far, have we already killed our world.
Richard, may I use your blog to thank the tree surgeons of Bristol City Council who found two larvae of the lesser stag beetle yesterday in some rotten wood and asked the Botanic Garden if they wanted them. Of course we did and they are safely in their old home transported to our set-aside for wildlife area. Don't worry, Kay,the army of workers grows bigger everyday.
re: virtues of concrete as a habitat. We have a service road at the rear of our house which is made of concrete and gated each end which is fringed with weeds (wild flowers) and gets pretty baked in the Summer hence the small lizard I spotted (not a newt)at the bottom of the garden - all this in surburban Ruislip -just goes to show nature is there if you look for it.
I live in rural Kent, with lots of lovely woodland footpaths around. Recently, an old hospital has been redeveloped as a housing estate. The footpaths have been widened and tidied for 'trim trails'. One particular path has wooden signs to indicate these trails, but for the hard of understanding they've included blue signs like motorway signs. AAARRRRRGGGGGH!