In the wild, grasslands and woodlands grow themselves without any help from us. To an extent (and in miniature) we can mimic this in our suburban gardens.
The main intervention needed in self-sustaining patches of mini grassland or woodland, is the occasional weeding of exotic plants, especially the ones usually referred to as “invasive aliens”.
Mini grasslands can be established by planting a variety of native grasses as well as a some of the plants that occur naturally in local grasslands. After doing that, many of these plants can be left to self-seed and their offspring pop up reliably in the spring.
These flowers known as Yellow Everlastings self-seed each year. When in flower they are visited by this species of beetle, which we leave to their own devices.
In the fallen leaves in the small woodland section of our garden, the busy scuffling sounds made by thrushes, robin-chats and Terrestrial Brownbuls as they search for food is a real pleasure to hear. Fallen leaves also provide a micro habitat for other small creatures and at the same time, the leaves feed and preserve the soil.
Fallen branches and logs can also be left to provide homes and food for insects and footholds for fungi. How much more interesting than neat and tidy don’t you think?
Undisturbed patches of ground can yield unexpected plants that somehow arrive courtesy of visiting birds or by windblown seed. I am most circumspect about weeding unless I am sure that small seedlings are indeed unwanted invasives. This small plant was a surprise find in our small grassland patch.
Letting nature back in encourages a live-and-let-live state of mind. As habitats for wildlife continue to shrink, suburban spaces can be adapted to be biodiverse sanctuaries or corridors that enrich our lives, as well as contribute to conserving our indigenous plants, birds and other creatures. ★
Posted by Carol at letting nature back in