A Little Benign Neglect In The Garden


Our garden used to be a patch of lawn surrounded by gravel.

Well, the gravel had been so thinly applied, that weeds had no problem growing through it.

We’re a little averse to using chemical herbicides for various reasons, so keeping the gravel clear is hard work.

Just last week, we had a large portion of that gravel turfed over. Grass is prettier, sucks up carbon and — in my opinion — is easier to maintain. Just a quick mow from time to time.

Obviously with the turf settling in, it’s not wanting a mow.

A bit wild and not so tidy

And with the recycling centres all closed due to the lockdown, we can’t get rid of our garden waste anyway. So I’m holding back on mowing the original part of the lawn as well.

There’s a lot of talk these days about the advantages of letting your lawn, and your whole garden, go a bit wild and not so tidy. There are plenty of plants for the bees and bugs around our way anyway, but it’s been lovely to see the daisies and dandelions springing up.

In June 6 there’s a feature by Polly Pullar where she discusses the important of insects, and how simple things like leaving your lawn to grow a bit can really help the bugs.

Helping the bugs helps the birds, and so on up the chain.



There’s a corner of our garden that grows a bit wild with nettles. Since I found out that they’re great for butterflies to hatch on (the leaves provide protection), we’ve let that grow by itself.

We also had to knock down a rotten old bit of wooden decking a few years ago. The old wood is round the side of the house in a pile, waiting to go to the skip.

I’m not in a rush, as it’s incredibly popular with the birds.

I can only assume it’s also now got its own little insect population that they’re benefiting from.



I’m not a neat freak by any means, but I must admit it does take a bit of restraint to leave bits of the garden totally wild.

I’ve heard of some folk who just let the lawn go completely and only use the mower to cut paths across to bits you need to access.

That might be a step too far. Where we are, long grass means ticks.

Even the most ardent conservationist would be hard pushed to welcome them in.

But otherwise it does seem a little benign neglect can go a long way!

Here are some other garden jobs to be getting on with in May.

For more from Features Ed Alex, read his blog here.

Alex Corlett

Alex is the "Friend's" Features Editor, working with the talented Features Team to bring you everything from cryptic crosswords to financial advice, knitting patterns to international travel and inspirational real life stories. Always on the hunt for a new feature idea, Alex also enjoys cycling and loves a good tea room.