You've Got a Friend in Weeds

June 30, 2021

You've Got a Friend in Weeds

4 minute read

There's a new trend sweeping the gardening world. It's called rewilding. This new way of letting nature handle its own affairs is actually anything but new. As its name suggests, rewilding is about returning to basics and leaving weeds where they are. It's mainly focused on biodiversity, conservation, and trusting nature to take care of itself with minimal human interference.

Why You Should Rewild Your Garden

It's no secret that most gardeners are passionate about conserving nature. Rewilding is a great way for you to do your part. By allowing nature to regulate itself as much as possible, wildlife has a chance to flourish. Providing animals with the habitat they need to survive, you're helping to ensure a healthy future for our planet.

Plantlife's #NoMowMay campaign suggested you "lock up your lawnmower on May 1st and let the wild flowers in your lawn bloom, providing a feast of nectar for our hungry pollinators". This campaign was hugely popular and introduced many to the idea of rewilding. So how do you encourage a bit of wild into your garden without risking your lawn getting too long for your mower to handle at the end of the summer?

In addition to helping local wildlife, rewilding is an opportunity to get in touch with nature. It's possible to have a patch of unregulated wildlife while still maintaining a clean look in other areas.

How to Rewild Without Losing Control

Before you stop cutting your grass and buying more diverse plants for your garden check any regulations that apply to your local area or type of home, as some tenancy agreements cover garden maintenance.

Pick a small space. If dedicating your entire garden to biodiversity sounds overwhelming, don't worry. Just planting a few diverse plants and allowing them to grow unbothered is great for local wildlife. Multiple small wild spaces will prevent more dominant weeds from taking over. It will also allow you to create a wide range of habitats that will accommodate different types of wildlife.

Leaving a strip of grass unmowed around the wild garden will give it a nice border and a cleaner look. Keep an eye out for wildflowers in the unmowed grass. Seeing them is a great sign that local wildlife is thriving. If you're not having much luck, many garden centres now sell wildflower seeds allowing you to choose a mix of beautiful blooms to add some colour and variety to your garden.

Check Rainfall Levels

The benefit of using weeds and wildflowers to give colour and substance to your garden is that they typically require much less water to thrive, as they are suited to the local growing conditions, reducing the environmental footprint of your garden.

The amount of rainfall your garden gets will be determined not only by your local climate, but also by the specific layout of your garden and the surrounding area, with trees, buildings and weather conditions such as the prevailing wind all affecting how much rain reaches the soil. If you're unsure whether your garden is rain-rich or rain-poor, try a garden rain gauge and get to know the conditions you'll be working with. We offer both manual and digital models that are quick to setup, and allow you to see rainfall levels at a glance.

Which Weeds Should You Keep

This is entirely your choice! You can stop weeding altogether and see what happens, or you can choose certain weeds to leave in place to encourage specific wildlife. Another option is having multiple wild garden sections to cultivate different varieties. Don't be afraid to plant new varieties, as having wide ranges of plants will provide a larger amount of insects with a habitat.

There are some weeds you can plant that will provide habitats for specific insects.

  • Nettles are great for caterpillars and butterflies.
  • Dandelions are not only a very common weed, they're also very beneficial to your garden. They create a great habitat for insects and fertilise the soil, plus they are often used as a tea.
  • Clover varieties such as white clover and red clover attract bees.

Remember, these weeds will spread easily and could overrun your garden if you're not careful. For those with only a small wild garden, you will need to make sure the border is well kept.

It's also important to check which species are safe for children and dogs. The Wildlife Trust is a great resource for finding out more about different species.

Start Planting

Essentially rewilding is about putting our trust in nature. Plants have survived without human interference for ages and will continue if you let them. There's no reason to be scared of letting your garden get a little wilder and the habitats you create can really help preserve local wildlife.

Rewilding takes a lot of patience and a high level of comfort with having minimal control. However, if you take it at your own pace and figure it out as you go there are some amazing benefits. We love sharing your gardening successes. Be sure to tag us in your photos @ClimeMET on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.