The Wild Edges of the Garden

I am reading Glennie Kindred’s book “Letting in the Wild Edges” and had it in mind this morning when I was out in the wild edges of my (Telford) garden.

For one reason and another I have not had much time to get into this garden this year and parts of it are long overdue the clear up that generally happens in late May or early June. Of course even in the wilder parts I do have to take some action to stop nature running away entirely, but it is not hard work.  Even though it hasn’t rained for some weeks now the ground is soft and plants I don’t need pull up surprisingly easily.  And so it was that I was clambering into the wild edge behind some fruit bushes.

DSCN5226 pathway

The picture above shows the pathway I made to get in and below is what the edge looks like, taken at head height.  It is a delightful mix of raspberry, brambles, ivy, honeysuckle, cleavers,  nettles, winter jasmine, sweet cicely and others happily intermingling.  It is lush and verdant and I am sure everything has grown larger this year than ever before.  There are raspberry canes well over my head height and you can just pick out hedge woundwort and green alaknet in the photo at my eye level, in years gone by they were knee high!

DSCN5230 wild edge

This garden has always been somewhat wild round the edges due to the nature of the boundary between the properties and I have happily allowed a strip approximately three feet wide behind the fruit bushes to more or less do what it wants.  Some time ago I also planted some edging shrubs – pyracantha, winter jasmine and there was already holly, ivy and honeysuckle; over time it has all blended together with the spontaneous arrivals.

Further along the edge I have planted an elder with dark red leaves and a golden hop.  These sprawl and climb together and mix with holly, rhododendron, camellia and comfrey.  This always looks marvellous at this time of year.

DSCN5245 wild edge

Part of the point of having wild edges in a garden is to create opportunities for all kinds of life to inhabit different niches.  Whether it is birds, bees and insects or creatures of the soil – leaving them relatively undisturbed is enormously beneficial.  I also think they are very beautiful.

Once I had cut my way through the undergrowth I was rewarded with the first pickings from the blackcurrants on bushes that are heavy with berries.

And then after my exertions in the heat I had an opportunity to do one of my very favourite things – relax in a summer garden, drinking tea to the accompaniment of birds chirping and bees buzzing!


About Anni Kelsey

I love forest gardens and forest gardening, nature, reading and everything good about being alive. I have written two books - the garden of equal delights (2020) - about the principles and practice of forest gardening; and Edible Perennial Gardening (2014) - about growing perennial vegetables in polycultures, which is basically forest gardening concentrating on the lower layers.
This entry was posted in Forest Gardening, Permaculture, Polycultures, Relationship with nature, Telford Garden and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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