Managing my wild garden is part lack of time, part awareness and part live and let live at PumpjackPiddlewick

As a relative newbie to gardening, each year I set myself the task of trying at least one new thing in it. As my garden is currently loving the rain, growing like crazy and going wild, I have decided to cultivate a wild garden this year.

It’s also an excuse as I am currently away a lot as a wine tour guide, so in a sense I need a garden that can -almost- take care of itself. Or at least simply grow, grow and grow some more until I come back to do a little weeding.

Trying My Hand

In the past I have introduced wattling, bending hazel sticks around posts to create a lovely fencing border. No odd branches of prunings go to waste. They now have a home, fencing in a raised bed or creating a barrier to try and stop my animals crushing what they shouldn’t.

Hugelkultur was learned next, where you create raised beds by first digging down and then filling the base with rotting wood, then topping with dirt. It’s another great way to get rid of garden waste that also benefits the raised bed. I planted potatoes in my first bed and they grew so quickly, large and healthy, I deemed it a success. Now all my raised beds get this treatment.

Going Up

A bean trellis tunnel, made from more left over bits about the place, has made a comeback after success in a previous garden. I prefer it to reside near the duck pond. The water from there never goes to waste as it waters the root area of plants climbing the trellis. And a bonus is the shade it creates come summer. I often find the ducks cooling themselves, sat in the shaded tunnel.

Someday I will make a proper trellis, maybe even buy some. But for now, as long as it supports and gives space to the climbing plants, all is fine and dandy with me. You see, as my wild garden gains in wildness, it’s good to have plants that climb above those that don’t. Otherwise the plants may start to suffocate each other. Instead the climbers leave space below for the others.

How Does your Garden Grow?

Permaculture style gardening is very much a part of what I do, along with no dig gardening. I add to the soil with compost and more soil rather than dig up and turn. Supposedly it means less, weeds, though I am not really seeing this. But it certainly makes life easier.

Lots of rain this year has meant that everything is growing, growing, growing! Including the weeds. And my garden has become very overgrown. I am loving my wild garden. It is full of colour, greenery and especially density. I only weed out a few particular plants.

Weeding a Wild Garden

I have never been anti-weed, more a weed is a plant in the wrong place. There are a few ‘plants’ I really keep an eye out. Bindweed or Morning Glory is my main one as it likes to climb up and twine itself around other plants. Killing them eventually. I pull out bindweed whenever I see it, but if it is climbing something where it will create shade within come the height of summer, I leave it alone. It’s in the right place.

Wild Sweet Pea or vetch is one I particularly like to let grow. I am in love with its little flowers. It is a true wild garden flower as it crops up in all sorts of places once you let it thrive. So it does need some management. I like to be sure to train it upward, otherwise it will tend to travel outward and almost take over other plants.

And by not weeding, many plants have emerged I never would have had before. Like Poppies. A plethora of purple poppies have popped up throughout my garden. I didn’t plant them, and they weren’t here when I first cleared my garden as part of its restoration. But they are here none the less. A wonderful surprise. Beautiful, and bonus, I plan to harvest the seeds for cooking.

Natural Garden

By allowing ‘natural’ plants to find their niche I have found that those I have planted are actually thriving better. Less exposed soil has meant more moisture retained, which all the plants are loving.

In managing my wild garden, I only pull out, break off or dead head, what has died or is trying to overwhelm other plants. Other than that, it is definitely a live and let live mentality. I gather some are calling this an ‘ungardening’ way of gardening.

This has turned out to be brilliant on many levels. The garden looks lush and healthy, with beautiful swathes of green and colour. Bees, butterflies and other animals, especially the ducks, are just loving it. And I am immersed in their sounds when I work or sit in it. And bonus, having a wild garden has given me more time to do other things.

Of course, it is a chicken and egg scenario. Which came first the wild garden giving me more time, or not having enough time so the wild garden came into being?

More Garden Findings

If you enjoy gardening, or simply like to read about gardening, please check out my other Garden Findings.

If you like what you read and wish to join in and support Pumpjack & Piddlewick, do check out my Nourish page.

And here’s a taste of garden items in My Shop:

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2024-06-17

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