Rough Patch Gardening
Rough Patch Gardening!
It came about through my wish to share my delight and learning while developing an new garden in rural Herefordshire. For the first time I've got a garden without much immediate history or previous design, but I do know the local environment well and so am used to its soil and species. Even so - there's always so much to learn! Its a wonderful opportunity to find out more about botany and biodiversity, and at the same time develop methods and practical skills through experience, that I can share.
A move to a garden full of rough grass, old agricultural land, criss-crossed by buried electric cables, water pipes, drains and soakaways, on a windswept plot, on heavy, wet, cold clay, over limestone, full of stones and lumps of concrete, badly drained and very uneven. The totally rural view is wonderful! and the garden adjoins historic orchard and looks onto the Malvern Hills.
My immediate desire was to provide more shelter, habitat and biodiversity. I had limited time and money for development, but I owned a good lawn-mower (or two). I had decided I didn't want a conventional 'country garden', however attractive they can be, as I love natural planting and have an aversion to affluent garden 'consumerism'. I wanted also to 'go with the flow', work with nature rather than against it, so my planting policy is 'Beg, borrow or.....'
When I was much younger, and creating a garden on much kinder Evesham soil, my father said to me that if I wanted to make a pathway, I should wait a few months to see where I walked and then put the path there! Such wise words! I like to apply that principle to 'rough patch gardening'. Instead of having too many ideas from 'on top', let them grow up from below in their own time - then use their energy to sculpt and create your forms. You can be a scientist, an artist, an observer, a facilitator. If you listen well, you can assist the energy of the place to express itself in a way that will be constantly varying.
Don't 'landscape' mechanically - embrace uneven ground.
Allow plants to shade each other, allow transient plants to provide weed cover, allow them to teach you - even if its painful!
Look at the patches as communities, within a wider community. This is SO important.