How To Create A Wild Garden

Wild gardens and the allure of wildflowers in garden design seem idyllic. A successful wild garden can be an immersive experience. Plus, there are many benefits to cultivating a wild garden, including promoting biodiversity, attracting pollinators, and fostering a connection with nature. 

Wild gardens are increasingly important when we think of gardening for the future. Instead of creating ‘the perfect garden’ maybe we need to look at creating a ‘useful garden’. 

But it’s not as simple as just letting your weeds grow! 

How Do You Create a Wild Garden?

First and foremost, we know that every garden is different. And the way in which you garden will depend on lots of different factors. Creating a wild garden can start with a few small changes. 

  • Take inspiration from the organic look and feel of natural habitats by incorporating irregular shapes, meandering pathways, and informal plantings.
  • Begin by working with small areas of the garden. Develop you garden over time
  • it will quickly become apparent what the problem plants will be. Given the chance, some plants will dominate your garden.
  • Invite wildlife into your garden, create habitats for bugs to prosper. Ponds, bug hotels, bird boxes, and other shelters are a great place to start.
  • Use what your garden provides, create your own compost. Use sticks and logs to create structure
  • Mimic Local Ecosystems: Native plant species are a great start. They are well-suited to the local climate, soil conditions, and wildlife populations to create a thriving and sustainable wild garden.

What Plants are Suitable for Wild Gardens?

  • Native wildflower species are the backbone of a wild garden, such as black-eyed Susans, coneflowers, and butterfly weed, which are adapted to local growing conditions and support local wildlife.
  • Grasses and ferns add texture and structural interest to the wild garden while providing habitat and food sources for birds and insects.
  • Self-seeding annuals like cosmos, poppies, and diditalis that effortlessly naturalize and reappear year after year, enhancing the wild and untamed aesthetic of the garden.

 

 

What Bulbs work in a Wild Garden?

  • Alliums provide height and offer a great source of interest for bees and butterflies
  • Camassias are wonderful naturalisers and work well amongst grasses
  • Start early with naturalising daffodils, crocus and snowdrops
  • Crocosmia are a useful clump forming bulb that will last for years.

Getting Inventive with a Wild Garden

Incorporate Art and Sculpture into your wild gardens, such as whimsical sculptures, stepping stones, or naturalistic installations, to add visual interest and create focal points.
Get inventive with habitat features like birdhouses, bee hotels, or small ponds. So long as they provider shelter, nesting sites, and water sources for wildlife. 

Is a Wild Garden Hard to Do?

Wild gardens should be low maintence, which require less watering, fertilizing, and pest control compared to traditional manicured landscapes, making them ideal for busy gardeners.
Wild gardens are inherently adaptable and resilient, able to withstand fluctuations in weather patterns and environmental stressors with minimal intervention. However, it does take a little while adapting your garden. Many plants will take a few years to grow to maturity and weeds will have to be kept back until your desired plants cover ground. 

Should I Only Plant Native Plants in a Wild Garden?

Although it is important to prioritise native plant species in wild gardens to support local ecosystems, conserve biodiversity, and preserve the genetic integrity of native plant populations. 
Non-invasive exotic species that do not pose a threat to local biodiversity can also be incorporated into wild gardens to add diversity and visual interest. It is important to plant a wide range of plants, not matter what style of garden you choose.

Create a wild garden with Peter Nyssen

 

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