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Gnasher
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Location: East Midlands, UK
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 8,727
Female 
 
23-05-2018, 09:39 AM

My Wild, Messy Garden

It is very quiet on Dogsey at the moment so I thought I would take the opportunity to bang my environmental drum in favour of everyone allowing their gardens to be less trimmed and more wild. The benefits and rewards are manifold, and all with positive benefit for the environment and the planet.

As I have mentioned before, four years ago we laid wild grass meadow turf filled with a variety of wild flowers, all beneficial to the birds and the bees. It was terribly expensive but our back garden is only small so didn't break the bank. As i thought this year, the 4th, the meadow is really coming into its own. It is a picture of a variety of meadow grasses and at the moment red campion. Each year is different, but this year the dominant species is red campion. The result of this is the garden is full of pollinating insects, bumble and honey bees and a variety of hover flies that I have never seen before. The boundary of the garden is dense honeysuckle, with ivy covering all the hideous fencing. Nothing is touched other than the ivy is prevented from growing up our neighbour's garage, or up our house above 2nd floor height. Both ivy and honeysuckle are full of bird's nests - blackbirds, robins, sparrow, wrens, tits, ring neck doves and even 2 very fat wood pigeons! Several starlings as well nesting behind the gutters and under the soffitts. They are fed with dried meal worms and mixed robin food every day, and fresh water changed daily. We have a tray of food on our patio table and all the birds, including visiting jackdaws and the starlings - species that are notoriously nervous of man - come right down onto the table whilst we are sitting there eating. The whole environment has become a total holistic balance - we have no pests for instance. The blackfly on the campion is cleaned off daily by the sparrows. The slugs and snails are buried deep within the honeysuckle and keep well away from my patio pots. There are a ton of mosquitos and gnats, but they stay flying in the evening sun under the hawthorn tree and leave us well alone.

The downside? The dawn chorus right outside our bedroom window is a cacaphony of cooing pigeons, twittering sparrows and singing blackbirds, with the wrens adding their noisy rattle! Wakes us up every morning, but is so joyful to listen to we have no complaints.

And the best benefit of all? We never cut the grass, so no bloody noisy mower droning away for hours irritating us and our neighbours. All we do is scythe it down at the end of the season in September and rake it up and make hay from it, which we then chuck over the fence for the bullocks in the field to enjoy! Nothing is poisonous, I have checked, and they love it!

I can highly recommend this style of gardening ... it takes up to 4 years to get the balance right, and of course absolutely no chemicals whatsoever must be used, not even weedkiller on the patio, but a bit of patience and pain pays off and you end up with an almost maintenance-free garden! No digging, no weeding (I use a hoe if I need to), the only work is watering and a bit of trimming! If everyone gardened in this way I firmly believe we would not have a need for chemicals and there would be less of a bee crisis.

That's me finished with tub banging!!
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CaroleC
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Location: Stoke on Trent, UK
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23-05-2018, 10:40 AM
I do like a natural plot, but it is harder to spot and pick up the poos when you don't mow the grass.
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Gnasher
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23-05-2018, 12:36 PM
True ... but all part of the cycle of life. Soon breaks down ... we dont walk through our meadow grass so it doesnt matter for us and ben always poos on the patio which is very convenient. Provided the dog is wormed I have no problem with using faeces as a fertiliser ... after all the foxes and hedgehogs do it and they are not wormed.
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Trouble
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23-05-2018, 05:59 PM
I like gardens of all shapes and styles as long as they don't look like a tip.
I have quite a large patio area and a large area of decking, no grass because when I first moved here 20 years ago the garden would flood every time it rained as the park behind is higher than we are and the rain has to go somewhere, so it drained off the park into the back gardens.
I dug quite a deep pond where the worst of the water sat and the garden just developed around that really.
When I bought the house the garden had 5 tall leylandii a dilapidated corrugated iron shed and a couple of rose bushes, a plum tree and lots of grass. I chopped the Leylandii trees down, getting the roots out was fun. and left the garden looking bare. I then had the conservatory built and the patio laid with the raised beds. So basically started from scratch. It certainly looked like a building site once the builders had finished.
So outside the conservatory which goes right across the back of the house is the large patio with raised beds around the sides. The beds are quite deep and house a variety of trees and shrubs. I have troughs and pots dotted around the patio on top of the walls enclosing the raised beds for my annuals and perennials etc. My dogs all pee and poo on the patio too and it's always removed immediately and hosed down. The rest of the garden is gated because of the pond and is completely decked with beds around the edges and around the pond. I've replaced all the decking this year as it was in need of extensive repairs. So with the help of my Son and his mate we took it all up and replaced it. The hardest part was getting rid of it with multiple trips to the tip but we got there in the end and then set about constructing the new deck. It's taken a while but we're nearly done, we still have the lights to go in around the edges. Surprisingly it's never stopped the wildlife visiting. We have frogs, toads and newts in the pond, a plethora of bugs and midges too, birds nesting and visiting for the pond and plants. Since Chilli my cat died last year they are now safe at least. My garden is very densely planted and considering the amount of hard landscaping it probably has more plants than most and the only gardening I do these days is pruning followed by shredding which is then recycled in black bin bags behind the shed for a year before being used as mulch on the garden. Which is probably just as well as my disintegrating joints are making life difficult these days.
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Chris
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23-05-2018, 09:32 PM
A combination of COPD and Asthma make those types of gardens a big no, no for me. Mine is all grass with concrete borders that have 5 planters on two sides (I keep well away from those and the pansies therein).

I can cope with the grass except at the height of pollen season. Pollen and scents can set me off to the point of not being able to breathe
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Gnasher
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23-05-2018, 10:21 PM
Sounds great Trouble - esp with the pond, very good for wildlife. What a shame Chris re your asthma and COPD - that is a real bummer, you definitely would not like to visit my garden!
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Chris
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23-05-2018, 10:29 PM
Originally Posted by Gnasher View Post
What a shame Chris re your asthma and COPD - that is a real bummer, you definitely would not like to visit my garden!
Getting old is a pain - literally at times
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Gnasher
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24-05-2018, 08:31 AM
Originally Posted by Chris View Post
Getting old is a pain - literally at times
Innit just!! Had a new hip a year ago, and now recovering from an arthroscopy on my right knee which was a failure because I need a total knee replacement - booked in around the end of the year. The other knee is almost as bad! It is truly a pain getting old!!

The no maintenance wild garden is a boon in this respect because I cannot bend or knee - I wield a vicious hoe though!!
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Trouble
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Location: Romford, uk
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24-05-2018, 08:42 AM
Originally Posted by Gnasher View Post
Innit just!! Had a new hip a year ago, and now recovering from an arthroscopy on my right knee which was a failure because I need a total knee replacement - booked in around the end of the year. The other knee is almost as bad! It is truly a pain getting old!!

The no maintenance wild garden is a boon in this respect because I cannot bend or knee - I wield a vicious hoe though!!
I also need a double total knee replacement, complicated by me having an auto immune disease that causes my blood to clot randomly. It's taken forever to find someone I trust enough to proceed and should now be having the first one done at Guys in about 8 weeks. Just waiting for the letter with the date and mildly terrified as I've already had 3 strokes thanx to the autoimmune condition and the last thing I want is one during surgery. So had to find someone with expertise in bleeding and clotting as well as knees. No easy task.
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brenda1
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Location: Lancing West Sussex
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24-05-2018, 09:15 AM
I keep the main part of the grass mowed but the edges are left down where the fence is because the frogs like it in there and the birds like rummaging for insects etc. Funnily enough the starlings were down the other morning showing the babies how to forage but one adult found a large slug and ran off down the path followed by a load of babies saying feed me. She wouldn't share her spoils. bg!! Hedgehogs also like to rummage in there to. Tyto goes on the paving or waits till he goes out for his wanders. Bless him he is still doing ok.
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