‘Live and let live’

Two very rare things have happened to me recently, the first being that because there were no immediate deadline to meet I  had time to just potter in my garden and enjoy it and the second is that I’ve just been watching two fat fluffy young thrushes sitting together sunbathing on the patio; it’s uncommon for me to see one thrush in my garden never mind two.
It’s odd isn’t it that we take more pleasure in the rare or unusual, than the common and everyday animals and plants.  I’ve hardly paid any attention to the six or seven blue and great tit babies that are around the bird feeder almost all the time, like collectors of trophies we would rather see warblers than sparrows and orchids than dandelions in our gardens. We even classify the most prolific plant separately as ‘weeds’.
I think it must go a long way back into our early human ancestry when we perceived successful species to be a threat and now we begrudge the success of species that do well, ridiculous isn’t it considering what a threat we are to the rest of life on the planet.

Not a week goes by without someone telling me that a once interesting insect is
‘a pest’, a shrub chosen for its speed of growth, now ‘completely overgrown’ or a creeping perennial, pretty it’s early days has  ‘taken over the whole garden’.

Surely we should appreciate the cabbage white butterflies as we do the holly blues and congratulate ourselves that we have such fertile soil that the honeysuckle we put in a foot high is now up to the bedroom window and those lovely little wild violets, so delicate in a pot, are now seeding themselves into every nook and cranny in the garden.

I think it’s time to live and let live, celebrate the successful, consider them in more detail, appreciate their many good qualities and to that end I’m going to sow again the wild carrot romping through the border, close up its flowers are covered in hundreds of tiny beetles and the white mallow where little wasps hide in it’s lovely shiny cups.

This isn’t just the wildlife fanatic in me being given free reign here, there are some sound principles of design at work too. The boldness and solidity of bigger clumps and drifts of the same plant help to make a small garden seem larger, repetition of the same plant creates cohesion and harmony and if a plant has seeded itself and spread around happily and healthily, then it has to be from it’s own perspective at least, ‘the right plant in the right place’.
Any horticulturalist would agree I think that that is the basis for successful planting and by association a successful garden.

As long of course that it’s not a species being too successful … and when it comes to the number of snails eating the leaves of my runner beans…..but then again, without the snails I wouldn’t have the thrushes.