Garden Looking a Bit Ragged? Why, Yes. Thank-you very much.

>> Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My neighbor (a non-gardener) told me the other day that my garden looks a bit ‘ragged’ and ‘unsightly’. I must admit, I agreed with him. And when I told him that the ‘messiness’ was intentional he gave me a bewildered look.

So, with a bit of a self-satisfied smile, I explained that wildlife can make use of all sorts of garden debris for such things as food and nesting material for birds. I didn’t tell him that rodents also use the unsightly litter for their own purposes because I didn’t want to freak him out by thinking I was raising neighborhood pests. Remember, I am talking to a non-gardener.

Then he said to me, “Well, everyone else around here cleans theirs up before winter sets in.” To that I said, “So, that’s why all the birds come to my yard in the winter.”

I took him over to the Caryopteris to show him the empty seed pods that the finches and sparrows have been feeding on.

After showing him all the natural nesting material and shelter provided by

the catmint

…the cosmos and butterfly bush

…and the zinnia, I told him I’ll just chop the rest of it up and throw it on the compost pile so none of it is wasted.

These plants also provide the additional dimension of movement when the winter winds blow. Plus, seeing a bunch of plants covered with snow is a lot more interesting than looking at snowdrifts piled up against a straight fence.

After our little tour, I asked if he might be interested in starting a garden and he told me it just seems like too much work. I decided right then that I would invite him over to help with a few ‘light’ garden chores this spring. I’m thinking maybe weeding duties might be a bit too much for him, so I’ll ask him to help plant a few seedlings.

Who knows, maybe there’s some hope for him after all.


Kate February 19, 2009 at 12:41 AM  

Greg you are very thoughtful and patient with your neighbour and eventually I am sure he will begin to see some of the bird life around the place and think of you and what you are doing. Getting him to plant a few seedlings and watching the birds feeding on the flowers is a lovely way to encourage him. Little steps get big jobs done. Good luck.

Greg W February 19, 2009 at 7:13 AM  

Thank-you Kate. Perhaps I can offer to help him start a garden.

But I fear his reluctance at it being a lot of work may mean it could fall into disrepair.

Oh well, I'll ask anyway. You never no if you ask, right?

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