Sunday, May 03, 2009

The seeds of misrule

As often happens, my mind wanders whilst I am weeding. Today, I was musing on what would happen to our garden if I stopped intervening to prevent its slow slide into chaos and disorder. Not that it would take that long.

The front garden would lose itself to self-seeded Verbena bonariensis, Alchemilla mollis and Nigella within a couple of months. Hopefully, Verbena hastata would be able to fight for a few small spaces - I'm looking forward to seeing if this elegant plant is as prolific a self-seeder as its larger cousin.

The young apple and plum trees would lose their shaping, and perhaps been drowned by the cardoons. The buddleia would seed around, producing fair sized shrubs within 12 months, whilst the japanese anemones would strive to cover the county given half the chance, with the herbaceous clematis scrambling through them.

In the back garden, the lawn would grow wild (and who knows - the moss might be out-competed). If I was lucky, the snakeshead fritillaries would seed into the lawn and spread, as they seem to be doing in the border. The thicket of raspberries would no longer be hacked back and would run for freedom. The hazel saplings which spring up where the squirrels hoard the nuts in autumn would produce a pocket-sized copse. Californian poppies and Calendula need no excuse to self seed, and even now the Schizostylis coccinea is happy to spread.

So, to answer my own musings - the garden would develop and delight, be bright, and a wildlife haven. So here's to the seeds of misrule and perhaps I'll be a little less heavy handed with the weeding.


Victoria Summerley said...

I used to think I loved gardens that looked slightly chaotic, but I think what I really had in mind were gardens that once looked lovely and which have gone to seed. When I was little, lots of the old houses in our neighbourhood were compulsorily purchased to make way for law courts and other municipal carbuncles, and their gardens were like that, with aubrieta and alyssum running riot. It sounds as if your garden would be the same.

HappyMouffetard said...

Victoria, I think you have it spot on. I like the idea of gentle decay and slow reclamation by nature. I think the reality would be somewhat less poetic, though.

Frances said...

Hi Happy, it might be the time of my life, but I am completely in favor of the riot and battle for survival of the plants already in residence. Woe to any newcomers though! In fact, we are following the misrule rule here ourselves this year, just to see what happens. An aging body with a still young brain can see that it will not be possible to keep everything within bounds much longer. Have at it, I say.

Joanne said...

Gosh and not a weed mentioned just seedlings of great merit even if they aren't where you want them.

After years of neglect due to ill health, I am with great joy and no pain again tackeling my garden. My problems are Bindweed which I can only pull away to grew again as it is so deep rooted by the walls and entwined in clematis and roses.

Today I have again been tackeling ground elder I could weep I have dug up 3 sacks full over three days and that's just about an eigth of the front garden.

However there is a riot of flowers to see and an abundance of birds and butterflies but the comments I get from people who see the back garden for the first time is I like a wild garden. Oh so polite!

So I am so envious of your garden without invasive weeds.

Helen/patientgardener said...

I like the idea of your wild front garden - I think if I had those plants thriving I would be pleased - better than the couch grass and wild strawberries I was battling yesterday

Juliet said...

I wouldn't mind too much if my garden ran wild with Verbena, Nigella, Calendula, and Eschscholzia - sadly it would be more likely to be creeping buttercup, couch grass, oxalis, and dandelions. At least the dandelions would be pretty and good for wildlife, but the weeds would very soon choke everything else.

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Good thinking Mouffe, any excuse for not or less weeding is always welcome. ;-)

A garden that has gone to seed always has such a romantic whatsit about it, hasn't it?

HappyMouffetard said...

Hi Joanne, we are lucky that the garden suffers from few perennial weeds, unlike our allotment, which if left for 5 minutes is knee deep in ground elder, horsetail, bindweed, couch grass, dandelions, docks etc etc, so you do have my sympathy. I'm glad you are able to tackle your garden again.

PG - we do have wild strawberries, but have reached an uneasy truce with them as they only really decorate the area where the house meets the path and don't seem to make a bid for the borders.

Juliet - the self sown seeds and the spreading perennials mostly drown out the weeds!

Bill Pearson said...

I think you you might get a few flowers e.g. Ranunculus repens, Taraxacum officinale but I think (if my garden is anything to go by) Rumex crispus and Urtica dioica could become the dominant plants.

HappyMouffetard said...

Ahh, GFS, but at least Urtica is doubly useful - wildlife and soup. Or, if you don't check for caterpillars before you pick it, wildlife soup.

Nutty Gnome said...

Bits of my garden are definately left to their own devices at the moment because I can't keep a whole acre in check single handed and work, run the house etc too! But it all looks very pretty - if you don't look too closely!