“Human presence is a creative and turbulent sacrament, a visible sign of invisible grace”. John O'Donohue

Monday, 5 August 2013

I don't believe in weeds!

I've been thinking about this recently,  if our ancient ancestors could come back and they saw our gardens of cut grass and tamed beds full of exotic flowers, what would they make of it?

I imagine that they would wonder what we eat - assuming they hadn't been to Tesco. I also wonder, would they find it attractive, this strange fenced -in, manicured nature-taming?

And weeding?

One look at my garden will tell you that I don't believe in weeds. 

I have always been fascinated and charmed by wild plants and flowers. The truth is that the plants that we tend to want to banish from our gardens are often wild native plants that are essential food and shelter for wildlife. There are also, some of them, very beautiful. 

Ragwort, pictured in the bumble bee photo below, has a really bad reputation as a poisonous "weed". Yes, it's is toxic to mammals and it is not generally welcome on grazing pasture. but, as a plant, it has considerable ecological importance. 

"It is known that there are at least thirty species of invertebrates which are totally dependent on ragwort as a food source. There are many other species which require its nectar and pollen. As a common plant which is a good nectar source it is often a major and important resource for many declining species. Lost of habitat in general is a major problem for UK wildlife. Moth numbers have declined by over a third over the last 30 years and a major cause of this is habitat loss. This has knock on effects on other creatures such as bats and birds which use the insects as food. These pages below document some of the species affected and some of the science involved in the ecology of ragwort. There are many many more species than this list which is being added to as more material is researched." www.ragwortfacts.com

It happens to be one of my favourite wild plants. So I spend a lot of time on grass verges...
Bumble Bee on Ragwort Flower © 2013 Jude Murray

Here are a few more of my latest "weed " pictures...

Brambles flowers and setting fruit © 2013 Jude Murray

Dandelion © 2013 Jude Murray


Dandelion "clock" © 2013 Jude Murray


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