The Garden Re-wilding Diaries


"I much prefer the chaotic foliage that comes from letting things grow wild for nature"

 

With green spaces becoming ever more urbanised and stolen from wildlife, our gardens are key to ensuring the success of so many species. A few simple changes here and there can be the difference between helping wildlife survive through dry summer and a cold winter. So, as soon as I had a garden of my own to work with, I knew exactly the direction I wanted to head in with it.


Over the past few months I have been attempting where possible to dedicate as much time as I can in my garden, with an attempt to rewild it to the best of my ability with the foundations already in place, minimal time to spare and on a budget. It’s been three months since my garden rewilding journey began, and I’ve loved every minute (I’ve been able to dedicate) of it. In such a small space of time the garden has flourished, attracting beautiful pollinators, and even seeing the rearing and fledging of a wood pigeon. I know that for some a pigeon is nothing to shout about, however I’m quite fond of them and it’s been especially lovely to watch the journey of the parents from wooing each other, to building a nest and raising a funny looking but adorable baby.



Anyway, after a quick poll on my Instagram it became apparent that you guys were interested in my garden rewilding journey, so here, I begin the rewilding diaries.


Stage one was determining what we had in the garden. I quickly learned that gardening is quite an expensive hobby, so I wasn’t looking to completely gut everything out and start from scratch. I wanted to work with what we had a go from there. I’m not really one for horticulture in the form of neat borders and bedding plants. I much prefer the chaotic foliage that comes from letting things grow wild for nature which straight away acted in my favour as a form of money saving. However, the rewilding process required a little taming to kick things off.


The garden is almost completely block paved, with zero grass and small pockets of growing space which are heavily covered in stones (we will get to those later). The block paving was infested with willow herb which was also found popping up in several pots across the garden. These were pulled out, along with horse tail (apparently a gardens nightmare but again we’ll get to that later), and any dead foliage mainly found within the pots hanging on the walls and trellis. There were several plastic plant pots splayed across the garden which I gathered up and placed into shed storage, followed by cleaning up the ceramic plant pots I found and repurposing them for my new indoor plants. Once I had removed and cleared away what I no longer wanted in the garden I focused on deciding how I wanted to utilise the space.


There were several pots of herbs down the bottom of the garden which despite being south facing, has restricted light I that particular area due to the neighbour’s conifers which tower over the fence at the back. At first this seemed to be a bit of a nuisance, however that shady spot in the garden is actually thriving with luscious green foliage that provides a beautiful green backdrop instead of looking at tired fencing. The conifers are also always bustling with life, acting as rest spots for the sparrows and songbirds, so there’s another reason that I’m not mad about them.



Anyway, back to the herbs. There is a small elevated patio area that our patio doors open out onto, which receives a lot of sun. I decided to make this the herb / mini produce area and I’m so pleased I did. The rosemary that I moved from its original shady spot has started to thrive, alongside thyme, fennel, mint and basil. There is a small metal table which I used for elevating the larger of the rosemary pots, allowing more space for the now thriving potatoes and strawberry trough.



This year I was overwhelmed with how many strawberries such a small trough produced and have it on my to do list to split the trough into two as its beginning to throw out new plants which are trying to settle in the cracks of the block paving. Amongst all the herbs, I can’t forget to mention our pink peony plant which Optimus, our veiled chameleon is buried beneath. Every year that its beautiful pink flowers burst into bloom, it’s a comforting reminder of our grumpy little angel.



And that wraps up the first of my garden rewilding diary posts. A newly flourishing herb area combined with strawberries and potatoes (and Optimus) and several new pots for my house plants. Total money spent £0.


Happy rewilding,


Meg x

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