Butterflies and bees really are a welcome sight in front as well as back gardens. However, I am feeling a wee bit miffed at all the talk on gardening programmes (Gardeners' World on Friday night for example) about how many of our front gardens are a concrete ‘whatever’ as we use them for parking cars and therefore the assumption is that plants and wildlife are never considered.
I expect I’m not the only gardener that thinks this is an unfair assumption. Yep… and gravel in front gardens has been suggested by many as an easy non imaginative solution to a low maintenance garden too. Oh yes… without a doubt we do have busy lives and not everyone has time to maintain a back and front garden as they would like. I can’t deny that.
Mm… but is a gravel mulched garden really completely unfriendly to wildlife… nope, not always the case as you can see above.
This morning I was thrilled to see my first Painted Lady butterfly arrive in the garden. Where did I spot it first – sunning itself on my quartz gravel. This is not the first time I have seen butterflies do this either. I have seen Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock butterflies do this too.
My front garden can be baked with the sun (yes, I do live in Scotland ;-)) and without my light coloured gravel mulch around my plants reflecting the sun and keeping the ground from drying out I would be continually watering my plants growing there. I tend to grow sun loving plants there (ones that will survive winter here too) and I very much keep sun loving wildlife in mind with my plantings.
I’ll make up my plant list soon – perhaps for this month’s Garden Bloggers Design Workshop at Gardening Gone Wild. They are revisiting the topic of front gardens. Perhaps you might want to join in with a posting on your front garden or are looking for ideas? We’ll call this Part 1 of my posting.
Gardening Gone Wild say: “…we consistently get so many visitors seeking ideas for their front yard or front garden, it seemed worthwhile to revisit the subject. Our last front-yard workshop was over a year ago, after all, and we have many new readers and participants now. So, let’s see if we can help out all those folks who need some inspiring ideas to make the most of that often challenging site.”
Finally, I am not completely impartial here. I do know that there are many concrete/slabbed front gardens which are a problem especially in areas susceptible to flooding. I know many people aren’t interested in plants too. However, perhaps there is another way of supporting this issue instead of showing the ugliest and most unkempt front gardens. Everyone that does use their front gardens for parking cars become tarred with the same brush.
Street parking of cars is not available to everyone and the reality is that many of us (not all I know) have one or more cars that have no choice but to have them parked in our front gardens. For my part, like many others, I live in a corner spot of a cul-de-sac and I don’t even have a street edge on which to park even one car. Sorry, I’ve maybe come over too strong here but as you can see this does rattle me a tad :-D
Oh… but I am in good spirits and looking forward to another week of Spring watching. My wisteria will soon be in full bloom and the chicks in our blue tit Nestbox (over my back door) are getting more vocal by the day which would suggest that they must be getting bigger. I’m seeing lots of hedgehog visits too. They'll need a posting all to themselves… coming soon!
Wishing you a great week :-)
All photos above were taken in my front garden on June 6th & 7th 2009.