Autumn un-tidy

A few musings as promised on the lack of Autumn ‘tidying’ (following Anni’s post).  In theory, I should be chopping down all these seed heads …

A corner of my front border

A corner of my front border

But looking at these more closely, I observe tiny cave-like dwellings in the marjoram …

pot marjoram seed heads

pot marjoram seed heads

And lurking inside those untidy purple toadflax seedheads are nutritious black seeds, which could be a perfect snack for something on a cold day …

toadflax seeds

toadflax seeds

Where I deadheaded them earlier this year, there are hollow stems – whole tower blocks where insects could be curling up ready for the winter …

hollow toadflax stems

hollow toadflax stems

The ‘lambs lettuce’ path below is full of bits of grass, self sown cranesbill, and strawberry plants that walked out of their pots …

lambs lettuce path

lambs lettuce path

I once tried to tidy up under this hedge, pulling up the grass and intending to put bark mulch underneath.  I hadn’t got very far before I noticed a movement.  On closer inspection, I saw a tiny newt which had been taking full advantage of the warm cover that the ‘mess’ of dried grass provided.  I picked it up to check that I hadn’t injured it, feeling pretty rotten that I’d disturbed it.  It sat, blinking, on my hand. I gave up the idea of tidying, and tucked the little creature back under the hedge. 

One permaculture principle is to ‘use edges and value the marginal‘:

“don’t think you are on the right track just because its a well-beaten path” 

My untidy path is not a well-beaten one, but this edgy ‘mess’ will be a haven for wildlife through the winter.  I can still step on it to get at the lambs lettuce for winter salads.  I’ll just need to give any lurking residents a bit of warning first.

7 thoughts on “Autumn un-tidy

    • I’ve been away and am just catching up with things. Forgive my naivety, but I’m not altogether sure what the Sunshine Blogger award is. Should I be doing something? 🙂 I enjoyed your post about the Dartington garden – lots of unusual plants there.

      • It’s a pass-it-on blogging pat on the back. I was awarded it and I’ve nominated some ‘blogs including yours that I really appreciate being there. No idea how it started, up to you whether you take part or not, I wasn’t sure, that’s why I made my ‘blog post ‘off topic’ (go back a couple of posts or select ‘blogophere’ category). I must admit I was flattered mayself especially since Suzanne of mydangblog who nominated me has loads of followers and I admire her (very different) ‘blog

      • Hope you had a nice time away – my time away was spent doing plant research, hence the inetersting gardens from west country series of posts. I’ll do a couple of catch up in Skye next probably, although there’s more form cornwall to go!

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