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A gardeners role in ecology.

Ecology can be taken too far.  And sometimes we miss the whole picture.  Is this the place for a debate?
 location: Surrey Hills, England, ex-woodland acidic sand.
"Have nothing in your garden that you don't know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
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  • B3B3 Posts: 27,284
    You will need to explain what you mean before we can have a discussion.
    This kind of thread normally goes in the potting shed category but it doesn't really matter as most of us just look at recent discussions
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • punkdocpunkdoc Posts: 14,925
    No idea what that is supposed to mean, have you?
    How can you take ecology too far, that is meaningless, or it is at least to me.
    How can you lie there and think of England
    When you don't even know who's in the team

    S.Yorkshire/Derbyshire border
  • FireFire Posts: 18,923
    I would say not to bother starting a “debate” if you are just in the mood for an argument.

     Wildlife threads and gardening with a wildlife focus are a significant part of the forum. 

    Questions are always more interesting than answers. 
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,800
    edited August 2021
    The proposition is utterly nonsensical … it makes no sense  … illogical.

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.





  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,676
    edited August 2021
    I think it's more the case that people can sometimes do stuff for the sake of 'improving the ecology' of their garden, which actually doesn't provide the benefits they were imagining.

    For example does it really help to plant nettles? They are valuable for wildlife but are also already pretty plentiful everywhere so you might not really be adding much by including them.

    Or, are ornamentals worse than natives? There are specialised insects that rely on native plants, but in a garden context it seems to be the overall diversity of flowering plants, and the availability of nectar when native flowers are scarce, that makes gardens valuable. There's also plenty of research suggesting that native insects can adapt to make use of ornamental species, especially ones from the same genus as native plants.

    And the habitat that gardens provide is made up of a diversity of different gardens, each gardened differently, sitting next to each other. Some full of flowers, some mainly lawn, some with lots of gravel, some with ponds, some derelict and full of nettles and thistles and so on. Trying to do it all within one garden isn't really necessary. But fine if that's what you want to do.

    I can recommend this book: No Nettles Required.
    "What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour". 
  • bédébédé Posts: 3,070
    Fire: My wife confuses the word "argument" with "quarrel".  I see a clear distinction.
     location: Surrey Hills, England, ex-woodland acidic sand.
    "Have nothing in your garden that you don't know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
  • bédébédé Posts: 3,070
    edited August 2021
    Dove, Now who's the one with the closed mind. 

    You might be lost.


     location: Surrey Hills, England, ex-woodland acidic sand.
    "Have nothing in your garden that you don't know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
  • bédébédé Posts: 3,070
    B3:  Actually. I was called for lunch before I had time to develop my opening comments or the debate.  But it interesting, to me, to see how it has started.
     location: Surrey Hills, England, ex-woodland acidic sand.
    "Have nothing in your garden that you don't know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,531
    Well, its somewhere to start!
    Tnings could easily go haywire though... 
    There's facts and there are opinions. I want and needs must. Ignorance and wilful ignorance. Known unknowns and unknown unknowns.
    It can be very difficult to make a reasoned decision, even with the best will in the world.
    I live in the Peak District National Park. I have a couple of fields, that have been grazing land for a very long time, quite possibly hundreds of years. There was a property here, and others around that still exist, named in a tenancy agreement in 1664. 
    The fields have a wildflower population, but parts of them are boggy and given over to rushes. My sheep graze the fields, so they prevent natural regeneration. If that did occur, the increasing tree and scrub cover would wipe out the harebells, eyebright and creeping cinquefoil that grow there now. Some creatures would gain, but some like the hares, curlews, lapwings and skylarks that live there now would lose out.
    Our drains, and those of all the other farms feed into little streams that join a bigger stream that links into a river that leads to the sea. Water that springs from our land will be used further downstream for many things including drinking water, but the people there don't want too much of it at once. We have dug ditches and laid drains to make some parts less waterlogged.
    For re-wllders this is a wrong thing to do. The boggy bits should be left as they are, the rushes given free rein, but as they hold back water, this would decrease floodfng risk downstream but also reduce the water supply. It would also affect diversity as the rushes spread inexorably. 
    I try to tread lightly on the land and conserve what I can, but am sometimes at a loss to know what is best. How do you balance all these different things?
    Would more native woodland really be of more value ecologically than what is there now? Which 'wild' is 'better'? Is it right or wrong to dig a ditch to improve a soggy area, or to dig up rushes to give the grass and flowers a chance?
    Will any of it make the slightest difference when the sea levels rise and the dispossessed billions come looking for a home?

  • wild edgeswild edges Posts: 10,426
    Loxley said:
    For example does it really help to plant nettles? They are valuable for wildlife but are also already pretty plentiful everywhere so you might not really be adding much by including them.
    They make a lovely cup of tea and are useful for plant food though. Thanks for the book recommendation, I'll add that one to the reading list.
    I'd be interested to know how ecology can be taken too far though? I know lawn shaming seems to be a thing now* and I don't think people should be pressured to do more in their garden than they're comfortable with but encouraging people to do what they can and showing them the benefits can only be a good thing. If you want to have a garden full of wildlife though is there really a 'too far'?

    *generally justifiably in the case of plastic grass.
    If you can keep your head, while those around you are losing theirs, you may not have grasped the seriousness of the situation.
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