Working with nature!
Nature wants to add organic matter to the soil, but the gardener won’t let her. I often see gardeners down on their knees tugging out great handfuls of overgrown weed. I strongly suspect that all the vegetation with good soil attached, is on its way to the dreaded green wheelie bin. Repeated one way traffic away from the garden. It is amazing how resilient our soils are and that they grow anything at all. It’s certainly good for the garden trade who sell huge amounts of soil ‘improvers’.
Good gardeners of course make compost heaps and recycle the organic matter. Even then, I feel some gardeners never get round to actually using the wonderful stuff they make! The plant is a wonderful factory for creating organic matter. The leaves create sugars from carbon dioxide and water by photosynthesis. These sugars are the ‘building bricks’ for all plant growth.
AGAPANTHUS: This vegetation in Bolton Percy cemetery will be returned directly to the soil.
In nature, huge amounts of dead vegetation finds its way into the soil. It is often overlooked how living plants improve their own biosphere as their roots release soluble organics into the ground. Plants also ‘donate’ organic materials to mycorrhizal fungi. As recently as 1996, long lasting glomalin, was discovered. Produced by soil fungi it has transformed our understanding of soil formation.
And what does the gardener do? We tidy away all the weeds and debris and sweep up the leaves. Worse, we constantly till the ground, disrupting root action, breaking up the mycorrhizal web and oxidising organic matter.
It’s easy for me in my cemetery gardens and on the village plot. I just refuse to remove any organic matter and of course do not dig. All herbaceous tops are shredded and left on the ground. At home, I do have to be little tidier!
There are many ways to garden. None can ever be completely natural, but let us try and preserve nature’s bounty.
ROSA GLAUCA Most gardeners would not want to shred the top of this Rosa glauca and leave it on the surface. Nor would Brenda!