A demi-cut for the Wild Garden

One of the key features of my garden that routinely brings me happiness is the Wild Garden.  From almost the first day of moving here and thinking about creating the garden the notion of keep a goodly section of it unkept to encourage wildness was very important to me.

The Wild Garden is around one third of the garden, maybe a quarter, my spatial ability is not great.  It runs up the left hand side of the garden and across the top.  In late winter/early Spring the Wild Garden  is where I grow a lot of snowdrops.  They give way to narcissus and some tulips and the grass gets taller and taller as the cow parsley starts to take over.  As May ends, the cow-parsley moment is just finishing leaving the tall stalks and seed heads and the grass reaches around knee height.  The thistles are growing well as are the nettles and ragwort.  I sometimes control the nettles a bit but generally I let it do what it wants.  I mow paths through it and then give is a full sycthe/mow in late August/September.  It might get a couple more mows through the Autumn and early Winter but once the Spring bulbs are appearing then I let it be.  It is a haven for wildlife and insects and makes me very happy.

I have in the last couple of years started to think about making a tweak to this schedule.  The cow-parsley crowds out a lot of plants trying to find light so I started to think about cutting them back to give more room for other plants.  I have partially done this in previous years using my trusty sickle to clear space around specific shrubs, but it did not feel hugely successful.

The other day I decided to stop thinking about it and cut the cow-parsley back.  I decided not to fully mow the grass though.  I am not trying to create more lawn (crikey no, I don't want more lawn) and I still want to encourage wildlife into this space.  So I roughly cut down the cow-parsley and left the grass looking shaggy.
I cut around a small patch of the cow-parsley and tried to avoid the ragwort as well.  Whilst ragwort is poisonous to horses there are none in my garden or anywhere close.  It attracts cinnabar moths and that is good enough reason to keep it for me.

I shall keep you updated as to how the demi-cut Wild Garden progresses this year.  If it does not achieve much then I shall not bother in future years.  I am keeping my Wild Garden that is for certain, I think it has an important role in the diversity of life in my garden and that I continue to treasure.

Take care and be kind.


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