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A blank space for a wild garden


We have a small garden in our North London flat. It's SSE facing, with a timber patio area (newly installed and can't be moved) and a raised grassy area.

We'd like to keep a patch of grass in the middle for kids, surrounded by lots of easy pollinators, maybe a bit of veg (I've grown a lot of veg before but want to prioritise plants and flowers now).

I'd like it to feel a bit wild, and for the borders between grass and plants to be quite blurred - maybe just by letting the grass grow wild in those areas?

I don't know much about plants and would love to some help finding some that would work well in this location. 

Thank you!




  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 8,717
    Have you tested your soil?
  • No - good point. I'll do that! 
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,860
    I don't think you have room for all the other things you want, if you want to keep some grass  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • FireFire Posts: 18,976
    It's a great little plot. I have done similar things, with a similar brief, over the years. I grew chard, garlic, kale and things in pots and planters, which worked well. You could grow tomatoes in pots easily enough, through the summer with your SE aspect. Wild strawbs grow fine mixed in to borders.

    Maybe an arbour or small pergola is called for in the left corner to grow the grape vine over.

    I suspect you might end up finding the grass a faff, but I have neighbours who have what you are wishing for.  One idea might be to have a self seeder 'lawn' instead - clover, hawkbit, marjoram, dead nettle and other flowering plants for pollinators. In my own similar area, I have paving and all sorts grows within it - ox eyes, majoram, savlias, self seeded grass..

    The ivy you have is a good source of late nectar for pollinators. It might be good to give some consideration to what kind of heights of plants you are aiming for in which areas.

    It's an exciting project!

    - - -
    My north London garden is 3.5 metres wide. I don't have formally edged beds. I let self seeders most come up where they want. The path moves about. At the moment the whole earthy bit is a lawn of forgetmenots. In the the summer common valerina, ox eyes, linaria, borage and feverfew sprout all over the place - planted for pollinators. I have wild bee nesting boxes. The fmn is there in flower when some of the bees emerge is April.

    I have tended to edit out what I don't want with wilder plants, rather than add in what I do want.

    In summer, plants like foxgloves and hollyhocks give some good height and a wildy feel. I put pots of dahlias about. Climbing roses around the edge can be good for pollinators too, if the roses are open enough (singles and semi doubles). Some kind of water source is useful too - bird bath, washing up bucket pond - something to drink from.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,860
    If that plan is to scale - that's a very, very tiny shed and compost bin  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • FireFire Posts: 18,976
    Surely the shed and compost bin are already there...
  • @Fire Small gardens like yours make me regret not doing anything with the concrete yard I had in my first house. I wish I'd known how much you can do with the right planting! 
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,690
    If you really want a wild look, you can plant direct into the lawn around the edges, keeping a small mown oval as per your plan. Most perennials will be outcompeted by long grass and disappear over time, but there are a few vigorous and sturdy ones which can be successful. These two posts might be helpful, with plant lists for spring/early summer, and late summer into Autumn:

    Nigel Dunnett on Instagram: "The meadow at home retrospective April - June 2020, going backwards from early summer to spring. Robust plants naturalised into existing…"

    Nigel Dunnett on Instagram: "The meadow at home. Now Persicaria amplexicaule ‘Rosea’ takes over the flowering: the Leucanthemums and Geraniums of August are tailing off…"
    "What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour". 
  • FireFire Posts: 18,976
    Good people to research are Dave Goulson and Kate Bradbury. They both have numerous books, videos, GW features, podcasts etc. Worth exploring.
  • Thank you everyone, these are really useful - I’ll check the links out 
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