Messy up

I was awoken this morning by my partner with a cup of tea.  As I sipped it (appreciatively) and looked out of the window I saw several birds darting about in the undergrowth outside the window.  I think I saw a bullfinch, I definitely saw a robin, a great tit and another one that went so fast I couldn’t say what it was.  They sat on the fennel – where the seed eaters often breakfast – they perched on the tiny trees and then dipped onto the ground to forage about between plants and beneath leaf litter.

fennel with a few remaining seeds

beneath the fennel and currant bush is self heal, dock, Christmas rose

It was a ‘misty moisty morning’ as my mother would have said.  In other words, dull and damp and typical for a November day.  Usually you can see the hills in the distance behind this hedge but today you could hardly see past it.  Of course this is the time of year when more traditional gardeners will be thinking of (or actually doing) the tidying up before downing tools for the winter.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

As you can see there is a lot of greenery in the polyculture beds despite having had a few frosts this week.  I need to leave the oca to tuberise further and the kales will probably do us all winter – I have just picked a big bunch to go with tonight’s meal.

wild kales grown from seed this year

If there were no fennel stems and flower heads, no leaf litter; if all the plants that were not strictly there for a harvest or were past their ‘best’ had been removed; if the ground were therefore bare and there were no places to dart in and sit on and eat the odd seed – what would the birds, beetles, spiders, hedgehogs and other creatures do?

For all their sakes the garden is best left as it is – nice and messy, but beautiful as well.

misty dew drops on fennel



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 Borderland Garden, Polycultures, Relationship with nature and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Messy up

  1. Carole says:

    Yep, messy is fab. Those fennel seed heads are beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Andy Jukes says:

    Well said. I also picked kale from our garden for last night’s meal. Swiss chard too. A multitude of colours. We have been deliberately “messy” with our gardening this year. Done very little weeding, allowed things to self seed, let Nature have control. And we have been astonished at how productive the garden has been as a result. Plus we have a huge variety of bird visitors and insects plus hedgehogs Messy is best in our book.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am always sad to see Council and Park employees (agency staff?) using leaf blowers to get rid of ALL the leaves. On the paths and grass I understand, but such a shame to get rid of them under trees.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. tonytomeo says:

    That Christmas rose looks straight white. Is that a common hellebore? I know they ‘can’ be straight white, but most of our seed grown white ones have halos.


    • Anni Kelsey says:

      I’m afraid I really don’t know. They are sold in the shops here at this time of year and I think usually are pure white. We bought this one last year for this end of the garden which is a white corner with all sorts of white flowers to look at from our patio.

      Liked by 1 person

      • tonytomeo says:

        How funny. That is what so many other people say, as if plain white is so common. We have a few plain white, but I certainly do not think of them as common. We grew them years ago only because are clients expect rhododendron growers to carry that sort of thing. However, ours were not cultivar. They were seed grown. Our clients were happy with what they could get, and seemed to prefer the haloed white ones to the straight white. I thought that they looked like someone neglected to scrub around the drain of an old porcelain washbasin.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.