Sabotage your garden and save the planet
By Lars Lund.
When I bought a summerhouse lot 20 years ago, I cleared it from grasses with an excavator and sowed wildflowers of a value of 750 pounds. For 2 years people and tourists flock to the lot, to pick the flowers. After 3 years, the lot was full of grass again, and it was time to start over. The company I bought seeds from gave me the advice to spread Round-Up on the lot and then sow flowers. It sounded a bit crazy and not commune with nature.
Most horticulture books are about controlling your garden according to a plan, but some are about sabotaging the garden. Those are offering directions on how to sabotage your garden, so it doesn’t look common, but there is room for flora and fauna, and richer animal life. Both plants and animals are squeezed into smaller and smaller areas because of roads, agriculture and garden owners wanting to control nature. The garden should not be run tight. It is an amazing place to get involved with the nature around us. The gardens are not just pure biodiversity. Wild gardens can transform our self-understanding and understanding of nature.
More spacious garden
In short, it is about providing space and being more spacious, also when it comes to our gardens. We must let go of our constant control of wanting to have the perfect garden. But how do wildflowers or weeds provide greater wildlife? Many insects specialize in eating a single or a few plant species. For the same reason, one does not always succeed in getting a fig, bought in a supermarket, to give figs in one's own garden. Some varieties of figs have a flower that only a certain insect can pollinate, and that particular insect does not live in England. Among butterflies, there are numerous species whose larvae are picky and only eat certain plant species. This applies, for example, to the small tortoiseshell and the European peacock, which feed on common nettles. The garden whites eat only plants of cruciferous plants. Heliconian snatches the violet.
Out with the lawn
The lawn is helping to give the garden high bioactivity. A lawn often takes up a large part of the garden, and in many young families, the garden is the epitome of a lawn and a trampoline. If we let the grass grow, if not in the whole garden, then in parts of it, and instead cut it with a scythe a few times a year, and removed the cut grass, there would not be much nutrition in the ground and wildflowers would then grow. At least that's the theory. In my experience, it is not quite that simple. The wild garden and meadow must be looked after and cared for, otherwise, the grasses take over the whole thing and often they form an impenetrable mat where no seed can get into. Another problem with the wild garden is that people frown down on families with wild gardens. If you receive criticism from neighbours of your messy garden, just answer that it is not a garden but a biotope, the discussion will then be over.
The land of freedom
If you, in your garden, have a plant that is often attacked by diseases or insects, you have just chosen the wrong plant. For some obscure reason, in many cities in the United States, you are required to mow your lawn, so it does not spring out like a rain of flowers. It is a bit paradoxical that in the land of "freedom", where you can legally walk in from the street and buy an automatic weapon, you do not have the freedom to let the grass grow.
Om Lars Lund
Danish horticulturist and journalist
Lars Lund has for many years engaged in the garden and greenhouse. Lars has published many books about greenhouses, and he has participated in many Danish horticultural TV shows. He is a walking garden encyclopaedia, and he has answers for most basic cultivation questions – also the more ambitious ones.
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