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Room for Everyone
23rd October 2018
Does a good wildlife garden need to be overgrown, full of nettles, contain a big pond and be out of bounds to people and pets? Of course not, a good garden should be welcoming to everyone and offer room for all to live play and enjoy.
My own garden is a typical urban plot of 26ft x 26ft and while I’d be happy wandering in a space ten times the size, it really suits my needs just fine. While I may lean towards wildlife and vegetable growing, my wife prefers colourful borders. My kids, dogs and cats prefer play and adventure areas, so potentially a lot of conflicting interests to fit in one small space!
It’s no surprise then that we regularly receive calls from customers in various states of vexation over squirrels, rats, cats, wasps, moles, pigeons and all sorts of other frustrations. Whilst there are various tips, advice and even products that we can suggest to solve individual problems, it just goes to show how easily a space that should offer enjoyment and tranquillity can unexpectedly become another burden.
We often live in a hectic non-stop world of work and if we’re not careful we can bring these stresses home and become frustrated when things don’t go the way we wish them to, even in the garden. However our gardens should be the opposite; places of peace and calm to which we can retreat. They should be a space to relax and enjoy, whether sipping a glass of wine in the sunshine, watering the flower border, playing ball or digging up beets.
I’ve personally come to terms with the conflicting interests and needs of everyone (and everything) sharing my garden. Yes I lose a few strawberries to the blackbirds, yes the squirrels steal some bird food, yes the pigeons leave ‘gifts’ on the patio furniture, yes the kids routinely trample the geraniums and yes the dogs dig up my lawn. But I’ve also seen over 40 species of bird, 12 species of mammal, untold butterflies, along with bumblebees and dragonflies, frogs and newts all in my garden. All these species are sharing the space alongside my wife, kids, dogs, cats, flowers, veg, goalposts and of course myself snooping in every nook and corner!
Don’t worry about creating a wildlife garden, just plant the things you like. Don’t stress over the depth and size a pond needs to be, any fresh water will do. Don’t fret over how to attract this animal or that, just watch and enjoy every visitor you see and don’t kill the caterpillars on your cabbages, they’ll turn into beautiful late summer butterflies. A good wildlife garden is just as much about what you don’t do as what you do. So relax, let go and learn to share your garden and allow room for everyone, your wildlife and you will be all the happier for it.