Lazy Gardening

IMG_2852Gardening for wildlife involves embracing a messy garden– chewed leaves, piles of brush, reeds left standing through the winter. But the benefits are many– birds eating unwanted insects and butterflies flitting about, bees buzzing and pollinating your fruits and vegetables. Not to mention the gift of seeing every day the beauty that is inherent in dormancy.

Yardmap is asking us to make a pledge to Be A Lazy Gardener and leave our garden messy until spring 2018 for the benefit of wildlife. Join me in taking the pledge by clicking the link to learn more.

Your wild friends will thank you!

About Eliza Waters

Gardener, writer, photographer, naturalist
This entry was posted in Country Gardening, Field Notes, My Photos and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

82 Responses to Lazy Gardening

  1. Alice Pratt says:

    I already do that! Love the Goldenrod & a daisy area that looks like Leopard’s bane, with lots of seeds. In the spring the stems are dry & snap off easily at the base. I’ve been pulling some of the Milkweed, because there’s so many in “odd” spots…

  2. neihtn2012 says:

    That’s my kind of gardening.

  3. derrycats says:

    My husband will be glad to know that his lazy gardening is a good thing!

  4. March Picker says:

    In full agreement over here on the west coast! 🙂

  5. Sally says:

    I’ve been a lazy gardener for years. There’s such satisfaction in knowing we’re helping flora and fauna alike. I’m a member of a fb page called Native Plants of New England and everyone is so helpful and knowledgeable. It seems that I may have cleaned up the garden too early last year, late March…..cutting hollowed stems that bugs may be hibernating in.

  6. Pete Hillman says:

    Beautiful images, Eliza! I couldn’t agree more with what you say 🙂

  7. Ester says:

    I love the pictures 🙂

  8. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Oh thank goodness there’s now a whole movement and pledge to go with being a lazy gardener. Now I have an excuse for my slothful ways.

  9. Murtagh's Meadow says:

    What a great idea:-)

  10. Wonderful, I should get extra laziness points! As I am really good at it. It is truly amazing the insect life I have seen since planting for native pollinators. The Butterflies alone are worth the laziness!

  11. Robin says:

    I’m already a lazy gardener. LOL! I just got an email about that recently. It’s something I do anyway although I have to admit that this year I was thinking of thoroughly cleaning out the scrounger’s garden. It’s a dreadful mess, and snakes have taken to hiding in there. I will be pulling things apart to try to arrange it so that it’s easier to care for, but I’ll leave it until February (by which time, the birds and other critters have usually cleaned out all the edibles in there anyhow).

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Snakes are good in a garden, but one doesn’t need them startling the bejesus out of us! I do appreciate the service they render, however. 😉

      • Robin says:

        I appreciate it, too. We’d be overrun with mice and rats out here without them. They probably help with the bunny population, too, although it’s hard to tell since there are so many of them (counted 10 just near the driveway this morning!! The hawks that winter here will eat well this year). It’s the startling part that I don’t like and would rather they find a less startling-for-me spot to live.

  12. Kris P says:

    Winter isn’t the same here for either plants or wildlife but I have been trying to keep myself from cleaning up obsessively, if only to encourage more self-seeding (except by the mimosa tree!).

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Yes, sometimes an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. There are just some plants that self-sow too generously and I have to cut them out before they scatter. Echinacea is one that I’ll cut and put in the field for the birds, leaving my weeding next spring a little easier.

  13. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says:

    Hi Eliza! Pretty pictures. I am already a lazy gardener, but I took the pledge. I love seeing how everything is used just as it is throughout the winter. Thanks for educating people about this.
    Happy Autumn!

  14. Widdershins says:

    Once our human harvest is over we let most things flower and go to seed for the wee beasties and buzzy critters to snack on. Our neighbour who is of the ‘manicured lawn’ persuasion was quite mystified until I explained the process to her. She hasn’t quite embraced the ‘untidy’ but there are signs of messiness rising. I have high hopes for her. 🙂

  15. Such beauty in both the place and the images of it, Eliza.

  16. This is the way I garden all year round! Much to the horror of my neighbours who trim and clip and spray everything in sight. I like to think my garden is an oasis for the wildlife in the area and enjoy the butterflies, moths, bugs, toads, slowworms, grass snakes and hedgehogs I see in my wildlife friendly patch.

  17. spanishwoods says:

    Really beautiful images Eliza.

  18. Dalo 2013 says:

    Incredible set of photos Eliza, beautiful and especially like the lighting on the 3rd shot. Messy nature is something to get lost in, I believe. And this gardening idea, a great idea ~ just wish they would have had this concept of ‘lazy gardening’ when I was kid and my parents got me out of bed to do yard work 🙂

  19. Kathy Sturr says:

    Already pledged but have to say your “lazy garden” is beautiful in these wonderful photos! And I LOVE your new header!

  20. Laurie Graves says:

    I’m in! Last year for the first time, I did not cut back my perennials. All was very well indeed, and clean-up in the spring was no worse than it usually is. So, no more cutting back in the fall for me.

  21. ladyfi says:

    I’ve been a messy gardner for years! Lovely shots.

  22. Cecilia says:

    These are the best gardens ever! Beautiful pictures! Thanks.

  23. naturebackin says:

    This is great Eliza. I am so pleased to know that there is a movement in this direction. I hope that it is okay to mention your post and the link to the pledge in my next post?

  24. Pingback: Live and let live gardening – letting nature back in

  25. Brenda says:

    Ha. I love it. Nice to see that I’m not the only one!

  26. Judie Sigdel says:

    I am fascinated by the textures and colors of dried plants, flowers and seeds. Humankind’s obsession with “perfection” denies us of some of nature’s less flamboyant beauty.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      We seem to have a cultural obsession with taming nature, which of course, can never be tamed. Since embracing the beauty of nature as is, I’ve come to see ever more beauty inherent in all things. It is quite liberating!

  27. This is a great idea – particularly because I already leave most of the garden alone because we get so busy in the fall!

  28. Karen says:

    Your garden looks lovely Eliza, just natural and great for wildlife.

  29. Brian Skeys says:

    I don’t think it really is lazy, it is just choosing a different time to tidy up, which benefits the wildlife.

  30. I totally agree with the practice, but must admit I don’t do it. My beds are in places where the snow builds up from either snow blowing here on the property or from the road. I have to cut back or they are buried under 4-8′ of snow that results in a really huge mess in the spring. So, I learned the hard way to cut back in the fall. Hope my feathered friends go to your yard. 🙂

    • Eliza Waters says:

      It sometimes is hard to let things go until spring, esp. where plowing is concerned. I have boggy areas that can only be mowed in fall where the tractor would get stuck in spring. You do what you can!

  31. D. says:

    This is so beautiful!

  32. MK says:

    seems more like conscious gardening, not lazy gardening!

  33. Loved your selection of photos and thank you for the information. While we always leave the animals plenty of leaves and branches around our woods, I will have to start being a lazy gardener around the flower beds.🙂

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you! I didn’t mention that if anything is diseased, it is cut down and trashed, but some things are lovely left to be dusted with frost or snow. It also reminds me that something is waiting there for spring to grow again. 🙂

  34. I love messy gardens! I’m not a fan of overly-manicured lawns. I love moles in the soil, and juncos rooting around in the brush.

  35. Ali says:

    Yes. I love this. You can get the impression that gardening is all about weed suppression and control. I love the more relaxed approach, letting it all unfold, and trusting in nature to sort out imbalances.
    Beautiful images. Thank you.

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