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Talkback: Derelict gardens

Yea, appreciation, at last!


  • I will tell Peter and the boys!
  • I filled my front garden many years ago with shrubs, flowers,dwarf? trees and let it get on with attracting the wildlife and weeds in the few spaces. It teems with birds and insects, especially butterflies but I do line my front path with containers colourfully planted which takes passers-by;s attention away from the free-for-all which is the bulk of the garden. The birds have just discovered the pyracantha berries and there is a great crop of ivy berries for later. The great thing about gardens is that you can have what you like - order or neglect or something in between to suit yourself and usually the end result is pleasure for both people and wildlife. Vive la difference as our French neighbours say.
  • I' m all for wild / neglected gardens but when you see abandoned prams and assorted scrap metal mixed in then it' s not so good.
  • Every autumn I usually do the annual tidy up and cutting back to make the garden neat and tidy for the winter. Then I kept reading that wildlife needed the seed heads and dying plants etc in your garden, so this year I did not tidy my garden. It is alive with so many birds of all kinds and insects, beetles and ladybirds are still around, all over the plants and eating the seeds. It is lovely to see the antics of the birds as they try to get to the seeds. I am so happy to see so much wildlife coming in and using it, that I can completely ignore how much of a mess it looks. I will never have a tidy winter garden again.
  • Reply to kerfred
    "I will never have a tidy winter garden again". I'll use that line. Rivals even Gone With The Wind. Thank you.
  • Every garden needs, at least, a rough patch if it is big enough - or even if it is not.
    A wild area can be just as beautiful - I must admit I abhor the park bedding planting - must be a bit of Jekyll crossed with John Muir?
    The unburned bonfire now has a dilemma - I cannot set fire to it now for hibernating hedgehogs etc. and by the time they emerge birds will be building nests in it. So the heap will have to be left to slowly rot - at least till September.
  • there is nothing lovelier than an 'abandoned' garden. But to get it right I think you have to carefully select plants for their final size, and if they are evergreen or deciduous. There are abandoned gardens where I live and they are simply leylandii and ivy. Gothic gloom. Nothing grows below. Vita Sackville-West writes on the gardens that were abandoned when their head gardeners had been killed in WWI and that many plants were suddenly discovered to have an elegant shape when left to grow unhindered. Nothing lovelier than a virginia creeper scrambling through a yew for eg.
  • A few years ago I counted house sparrows in a corner of my village for the BTO. The gardens that had shrubs and a bit of untidiness had the biggest number of sparrows. The manicured
    gardens had few if any.
    My garden is large and I try to include wild life friendly plants. I make compost, have a 'dead hedge' that is made up of branches that have been pruned from trees and shrubs and garden organically. I leave some leaves on the flower beds and don't cut down all the spent hardy herbaceous plants and many would say that my garden is far from tidy. I do have a variety of birds and a variety of wild life that live or visit my garden including foxes. badgers and hedgehogs.
  • there's a happy medium between a rampant mess full of weeds and dog muck and the pristine constipated gardens of South Eastern suburbia!!! just relax attitudes to what constitutes 'gardening', a quick tidy up, leave seedheads and a few corners of wildness will suffice, I have a opile of logs from 2 demolished trees , an unkempt chaotic border system-but all the plants are actually plants or wild flowers, no crisp packets and no animal waste left to fester either,I don 't use insecticides, the ants fasrm the aphids and frogs, hedgehogs and birds sort out any slugs and snails, my jack russell sorts out any large unwelcome rodents in me compost bin, and a sparrow hawk keeps the squirrels away in partnership with me dog-all in all a very good system-but please, no junkyards full of discarded furniture and rubbish, that's just being lazy!!
  • While my garden is not exactly derelict there are times when it gets a bit OTT and I feel a bit down about it. Then someone looks over the wall and admires my "proper country garden" and it makes me feel better. I used to worry if I hadn't cut everything back at the right time now I leave some things for the wildlife to shelter in or under, My garden is always full of birds with all kinds of tit-masses of long tailed just now-robins,finches,goldcrest,nuthatch etc.I don't even mind the pigeons clearing up the bits under the feeders-keeps them off my veg patch
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