Wildlife friendly gardening – keeping it untidy!

Take a walk on the wild side

Wildlife friendly gardening

Wildflower patch

We aren’t worried about a tidy garden here at Shoestring Cottage. Just as well as we don’t have enough time to spare to keep it immaculate. We are more interested in wildlife friendly gardening, with lots of grasses, nettles and wildflowers. There is a little pond that attracts loads of frogs and insects too, and always lots of birds singing and bugs buzzing around.

This year we decide to finally sow all the little packets of wildflower seeds that we seem to collect; freebies from various garden shows and magazines. We had a tiny circle of wildflowers surrounding a beautiful clematis last year. It was very pretty but I longed for a meadow with a carpet of colour.

Move over carrots

We had two vegetable patches previously but just didn’t have time to cultivate and preserve so much produce. This year we gave over the smaller patch to the wild! We sowed about 7 or 8 packets of wildflower seeds and then let nature get on with it. It hasn’t turned out like the carpet of flowers I imagined. Rather, the plants are tall! But there is a huge variety like cornflowers, poppies, foxgloves, daisies and loads I have yet to identify. It is choc a bloc full of bees and insects as well, which is fabulous.

Wildlife friendly gardening

Not too tidy

We deliberately keep some areas of grass long so that the frogs have somewhere to hide.  There is a big pile of old logs and twigs at the bottom of the garden, which the stag beetles like. They are rare generally, but we happen to live in a stag beetle hot spot so like to encourage them. I am hoping for a hedgehog some day but haven’t had one so far.

Lightly controlling some areas of the garden and keeping them a bit untidy means that wildlife friendly gardening saves us time – this is great for busy people! I will save the clipped and perfect lawn for my retirement (maybe).

Wildlife friendly gardening saves money

The great thing about wildflowers is that they tend to self seed. We have foxgloves pop up every year, although we never bought any. They arrived all by themselves! I am hoping that our beautiful wildflower patch will come back each year and won’t cost us anything. So wildflower friendly gardening saves cash too!

The garden is just starting to become productive and tonight I picked our first red and blackcurrants, as well as three courgettes. We should have broad beans in the next week as well. Food production can carry on alongside the wildlife friendly gardening.

Do you make room for the wildlife? Do you have bug hotels or a pond? What works best to attract nature into your garden?

12 thoughts on “Wildlife friendly gardening – keeping it untidy!

  1. I have shasta daisies, lupines and columbines that self seed every year and I love the beauty of them but I do have to thin thin them out of the can take over rather quickly. This Spring I sold some of my lupine babies that had self seeded and made a tidy profit from those sales. This next Spring I hope to see some of the columbine as well.

    • I wish I had those! Lupine don’t do well in my garden for some reason. The slugs seem to eat them!

  2. We did have a pond but filled it in when the grandchildren came along. I didn’t mind because I didn’t like the fogs!
    We have mainly shrubs and don’t have many flowers but there is a small area close to the house where cornflowers and nigella grow amongst the sweet peas which are sown each year.
    Our shed (which began life as a summerhouse and so is a rather well appointed shed with lined walls and wall lights) has a balcony area which is raised in part as our garden slopes. This gives perfect shelter to wildlife and we have seen hedgehogs under there.

  3. I received a packet of wildlife seeds a couple of years ago and planted them in a large trough container in the front garden.
    I think “wildflower” is just another name for “weed” as, apart from some pretty pink flowers in the spring, the rest of the year comprises of a few straggly stems, and buttercup type plants – which I have in my lawn anyway!
    And they seem to be self-seeding into the rest of the front garden where they’re not wanted, so rather disappointed here!

      • One woman’s weed is another’s wildflower maybe? No, you need actual flowers . I used so many different packets I was bound to get some good ones!

  4. I too prefer slightly wild cottage garden look, well that’s what I call mine anyway!! Love lavender and so do the bees, my daughter made a bee hotel, love plants that self seed and ate my broad beans with my Sunday lunch xx

  5. One thing I do in our very small garden is to make sure there is always a bowl of water for birds and/or any small mammals who might come along during the night, or even the neighbourhood cats!
    Margaret P

  6. What a great blog! We live on seven acres, Grow 90% of all our own meat and about 70% of our own veg. We try very hard not to mow any more than we have to. This year (our third here) we have more birds, beneficial bugs, bees and wildflowers than ever before.

    • Oh wow – the wildlife will keep coming! I will pop over and take a peek at your blog

  7. I love your blog! Thank you for your very interesting and inspirational posts. Anything that helps bees has to be good. Kindest regards, Maureen

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