Natural Gardens Inspired by Nature
Gardens inspired by nature
Nature effortlessly creates beautiful designs with plants and. With imagination and some thoughtful planning, you can do the same in your garden, and even improve on nature’s displays.
A natural-looking garden can be very appealing. There are no strict rules for planting a natural garden — just borrow ideas and inspiration from nature.
Many wild plants are unsuitable for gardens, but it is the overall effect that you want to achieve.
See how plants in the hedgerow weave among each other, or how bluebells, stitchwort and anemones mingle subtly on the woodland floor.
Consider the growing habits and preferred conditions of the plants that you intend to grow in your garden. For example, it is pointless growing a plant with a very spreading vigorous habit next to one that cannot compete and which will soon become choked and die.
Wildlife and water
A water feature is a key part of any natural garden. Include a pond if possible. If space is limited, fill half a barrel with water.
This is enough to accommodate a lily, a fewand lots of visiting wildlife.
If you are making a pond, make sure you have sloping edges as an escape route for hedgehogs or non-aquatic insects that may fall in. Shallow margins are also perfect for wild pond plants such as iris, reeds and marsh marigolds.
Never dig up plants from the wild: this is illegal. Many species have fast-disappearing habitats, so leave them alone to give them the best chance of multiplying naturally. Seeds and plants are easily available from mail-order catalogues, and many garden centres now sell popular wild varieties.
You can free yourself from weeding and let plantains, primroses, daisies, clover and violets scatter through the lawn.
Mow the lawn once in March with the mower blades set at their highest, then leave it to grow until June. After this cut the lawn regularly until the autumn. This sort of lawn grows best on alkaline.
You can also try a mow-free lawn. Chamomile and thyme are favourites and a few plants soon become a fragrant carpet. Wild thyme is perfect, or mix leaf and flower colours. Wild chamomile is too tall for gardens, so try the variety called ‘Treneague’.
You cannot leave a natural garden to grow unchecked or it will soon look untidy and wild.
Move plants that are not flourishing and divide large clumps before they become exhausted. For robust plants keep the soil fertile with compost in the autumn. Many shrubs benefit from being cut back in spring. If you are weeding, be careful not to remove seedlings of other plants. Nature has a way of scattering them in the most interesting and original places. Do not forget your pond if you have one. Clear out weeds if they are starting to choke the pond.
Making a Start
1. If you do not want an entire natural garden, start off with just a wild border.
2. Planting wild flowers around a gate makes entering the garden an added joy.
3. Daisies are a staple plant in most natural gardens. There are lots to choose from.
4. Plant spring-in the lawn to create the effect of a wild meadow.