Forum home Wildlife gardening

meadow gardens

Over the last few years I've had increasing difficultly with maintaining my garden. Health issues mean I have difficulty in bending, doing physically demanding jobs and being consistent in general maintenance jobs. I wonder if developing my garden as a wild meadow would help with some of these issues? When I'm able to do so I love working in my garden (it's not very big), but I can't be consistent any longer, and winter digging and maintenance tasks are becoming too difficult for me. Does anyone have suggestions as to how I can proceed?


  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 21,204

    I would agree that meadow gardens have a limited season and otherwise look pretty messy. Raised beds sound like agood idea if you know someone who could reliably construct them for you. 

    What are the chances of hiring a gardener to come maybe once a fortnight in the summer and less often in the winter? Some local authorities have a list of voluntary groups who will do a one-off visit too. 

    I find that the main thing to cultivate is a laissez faire attitude to weeds and untidiness in general. It helps enormously to be able to look at something that you once would have shifted straightaway and be able to convince yourself that the world is not going to fall apart if it sits there untouched for another wee while.image

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,291

    I think a lot depends on the plants you grow too. Some plants make work, they need staking, or winter protection or mulching or lifting or regular tying in etc. Annuals all have to be planted out, deadheaded and then removed again in autumn. But if you grow robust perennials, that like your soil and suit your part of the world, things are already easier.

    For me a mixture of things like phlox, heleniums, hardy geraniums of all sizes, catmint, alchemilla and a few grasses can pretty much be left to get on with it.  They don't need cossetting or tying up, just an annual tidy sometime in the spring. Once well established they don't leave much room for weeds and any that appear are easily lost in the general exuberance. If your soil is in good heart to begin with they shouldn't need over much feeding as you can let the leaves return their nutrients to the soil by not over zealously tidying.

    Add in some easy shrubs that don't grow so fast they need constant pruning and some bulbs that will come up every year and your garden takes shape. You can still grow a few favourite specials in pots or one raised bed or planter, and with these you can ring the changes every year according to whim.

  • BoaterBoater Posts: 241

    I think a wild meadow still needs to be cut to keep it healthy - less frequently than a lawn, but cutting long grass tends to be harder than mowing short grass although maybe you only need to do it once a year?

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,852

    Meadows are not a labour saving optionimage

  • BoaterBoater Posts: 241

    Just a thought, if raised beds are an attractive proposition and you have someone who can build some for you - see if you have any builders or joiners locally that take on big refurbishment jobs and up with a big pile of scrap timber. both of my raised beds were largely free and are made from 6x2" former joists rescued from a joiners rubbish heap - I had to pull a load of nails out and then cut joints etc to make the beds but the only parts I bought were some dowels (used to stop the 3 layers moving apart) and some compost to fill them (because my heap was not established then) - you will probably need some screws as well though.

    Organic veg growers might have a problem with possibly treated timber, but it won't matter for non-edible plants, and my timbers are so old I suspect most of any preservative has long since leached away (and the veg hasn't killed me yet).

Sign In or Register to comment.