In general, people like to be organized. order comforts. Routines make life easier to understand. We get up regularly, we drink our coffee our way, we have the same job year after year. We also like things that are clean and tidy: an organized desk, pencils in a holder, all sharpened and pointing upwards (or is it just me?), chic clothes, and styled locks. (Just the thought of being spotted in public with bed hair!)
Like a sleek bob or a hipster beard, our gardens are all too often tormented and pruned down to an inch of their lives, with each plant seemingly having a short back and sides, chopped (or subjection, depending on how) all right. you look at it). Walking down the small street where I live, it strikes me how many front yards are simply an overly tidy square of lawn (if there is a lawn at all) and a concrete, brick, or gravel driveway. When did we start making room for multiple cars but none for nature?
The high cost of low maintenance
Of course people are busy. We all have pressures from work and life in general. After work there is little time for pottering in the garden; Therefore, having an outdoor area that requires little or no maintenance is considered a blessing.
The low-maintenance gardens that are so common today are some of the worst for biodiversity. Wildlife needs food, water and shelter, and without it we put them at risk. Gardens can create “stepping stones,” allowing species from different communities to connect and stop along the way to replenish their energy with sweet nectar or seeds. They can also provide protection from the elements as well as predators for insects, birds, and mammals. Leaving even a small area to naturalize is beneficial and, moreover, gives us the opportunity to interact with the species that are attracted to it.
We are currently walking into a global catastrophe in terms of biodiversity loss. Habitat loss is one of the greatest threats. Countless plant and animal species are threatened, some are already extinct. Additionally, our native species, which have never learned how to deal with invasive species, are often squeezed out for food and shelter when the “new kids on the block” move in.
We must therefore care for nature as it cares for us and provide space for it to thrive, even if that space is small. I have to admit, walking past my neighbors’ homes I was sometimes tempted to do a bit of “guerrilla gardening” – tossing wildflower seeds into their front yards and letting nature do its thing. Imagine how the bees would enjoy the blooms that would emerge through those barren gravel driveways and manicured lawns!
Creation of a wildlife paradise
Since moving in three years ago, our front yard has been transformed into a rainbow of insect and bird friendly plants surrounding a small lawn. It’s literally the only cottage-style garden on our street, and while neighbors have expressed their appreciation for the color and seasonal variation it brings, none have followed suit with plots of their own.
In summer, it teems with lavender, foxglove, verbena, scabious, evening primrose, broth, nicotiana, sage, and cornflowers (the list goes on, but I won’t bore you). Blossoms fill the margins in an exhibition that might have pleased even the great plant woman Gertrude Jekyll. Bees, wasps, hoverflies, moths and butterflies are constant visitors, as are a variety of songbirds. Goldfinches (one of our more colorful bird species here in the UK) descend in clouds of brilliant colors to pluck the seeds from the scabious, their airy light bodies barely bending the stems of the flowers on which they feed.
Last year I was overjoyed to find a large hedgehog making a comically bad attempt to hide behind the front doorstep, face tucked under butt but a very large butt sticking out. My delight was partly due to the sham concealment mentioned above, but also that a highly valued endangered species (in the UK) had visited our garden.
I’m not saying you should let your yards get completely unruly, with weeds taller than the average basketball player and untrimmed branches hitting people in the face as they walk down the sidewalk. No, it shouldn’t be the cause of neighborly riffs and snotty letters for “putting the page down” being thrown through your door.
But consider this: How could you turn part of your garden into a wild space? Leave a piece of lawn uncut; Toss around some wildflower seeds and grow a mini meadow! Make a small pond out of an old farmhouse sink. hang flower boxes. Let some of your vegetables bloom and grow. You’ll be surprised what a big difference a small change can make.