From time to time I tend to stop worrying about all the politics, the French, Covid Omicron and watch a nature programme on the TV. Most are just about how to tend your roses and keep the place looking tidy. Whatever you think ‘tidy’ to mean. I suppose cutting the grass to an evergreen sward exactly 3 centimetres high and don’t forget the sharp edging looking like a freshly cut moustache. Plus of course all the bushes sprayed with enough poison to kill the neighbours’ cats. Besides we don’t want all these insects do we?
YES, we do! The programme I watched this morning reiterated what I have been thinking for a long time. The guy, Colin Stafford-Johnson, an ex-camera man making films all across the world is now back in his native Ireland on a small plot his mother gave him. Now semi-retired he has decided to transform his patch into a natural state. Wildflower meadows, two ponds, all native species. No foreign imports because as he said so succinctly, imported flowers, seeds, trees and so on, have also brought new diseases that killed off many native species.
Remember Dutch Elm disease? He has introduced only native seeds and plants, and uprooted stuff that should not be there like a laurel. Laurel is not native here and I too think we should destroy them all, along with Japanese knot-weed. He showed a way to make gardens in the UK and Ireland be more insect friendly. Not to worry much about honeybees but more the wild bees. Mason bees and bumblebees. These are endangered. With the right plants, the right insects come and then the birds. Also it does not take a lot of thought to figure out the food chain. Building a proper hedge will bring in the field mice, voles and so on, followed by the owls of course. I didn’t know that the red squirrel will follow pine martens. I thought it was the other way round. Red squirrels have adapted to pine martens, grey squirrels haven’t. Grey squirrels also are aliens and don’t really belong here. Colin has shown a very interesting side to nature. Most of us do not really care or think about it and we seem to forget we also are part of nature. But as he indicated we should stop interfering with it and work alongside.