’22 Hyde Parks!’

November 7, 2007 at 4:34 pm Leave a comment

According to one of the Wiggly Wigglers podcasts (which I’m steadily working my through having rediscovered them last week!) an area the size of 22 Hyde Parks has been lost in London alone due to people concreting/paving over their gardens!

While it might not seem that urban gardens could do much for wildlife, being small and, well, urban, they can still be wildlife havens and can provide necessary ‘stepping stones’ to allow animals to move between larger open spaces, such as parks and greenbelt, or as my ‘Grow Organic, Cook Organic’ book puts it, “an oasis in an urban desert”. We do seem to have quite a bit of wildlife in ours – quite a few birds, an absolutely enormous pidgeon, a particular grey squirrel that runs along the fence at the bottom of the garden all day, and once a fox came right up to the patio outside the back door! (Of course, having grown up in the wilds of Northumberland, I’m a bit of a wildlife snob and don’t really consider grey squirrels or urban foxes ‘proper’ wildlife.)

I feel a bit hypocritical going on about this after having been frantically digging up weeds earlier in the day. I must confess to partly giving in to the suburban urge for tidiness, but I did also want to have that bed free for growing edible things in next spring. I’m also sure it must be possible to have a garden that attracts wildlife without being an overgrown mess – I prefer looking at the garden when it isn’t full of dead leaves and comfrey!

So, I’ve resolved only to take stuff out of the garden when:

a) it’s going to be doing something useful (such as the comfrey for the compost heap and tea)
or b) I can put something better in its place.

There’s little I can do in terms of planting things that will attract wildlife, as someone else has already paved over my garden, making a wildflower lawn or woodland garden a little bit out of the question, but I could get a bird table I can reach (there’s a thing hanging from the tree, but it’s rubbish) and some seed feeders and continue my policy of benign neglect with regards to the rockery for the time being. However, I reckon I could take the nettles out of there (somehow, somewhen), as long as I leave the patch behind the garden that we’re technically responsible for in its wild, nettley state* and dedicate at least one of my wine boxes to growing some brightly coloured flowers to attract bees, insects. Lavender, maybe. Lavender smells nice.

* Just have to hope I don’t lock myself out too often!

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Entry filed under: gardening, wildlife.

Hamster 1 – 0 Weeds; Hamster 0 – 1 Yale lock Treadle machines and Jerusalem artichoke soup

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