In a previous post I lamented the demise of front gardens and their replacement by dead or ugly non-living substances. Even worse, I now come to a trend to even replace the back garden with paving, decking, stones, artificial grass and so on. The aim is, presumably, to reduce or remove any cost of ‘maintenance’.
For example, a new development of expensive houses near us has ‘gardens’ that comprise paving plus a patch of artificial grass, with fortunately a token tree at the back. There are even gardens where all living soil has been encased to stop any emergence of the dreaded ‘weed’.
It is heartbreaking to see this dead land, the denial of living nature, the removal of refuge for insects and birds already under pressure from intensive farming in the countryside, new roads and developments on virgin land. Such is our denial of our own true nature as living beings, one with the very soil that is being shut away.
Of course all is not lost and these gardens can be reclaimed to a degree, with patio pots and baskets, recreating little oases of life. But of course that creates that very maintenance problem that was to be avoided. How many times have you seen patio plants brown and withered because of a failure in the watering regime in some spell of hot weather or holiday absence? There is much greater resilience gained by planting in real earth.
And yes, I am a hypocrite, in that we had our own front drive widened some years ago to cater for two vehicles instead of one. But we did retain as much vegetation as we could, within that constraint. We each reach our own compromise between ideals and practicality.
Please let us remember that the suburban garden is one of the last refuges for wildlife, and one of the great resources for educating our children and grandchildren into the ways of nature. We remove it at our peril.
Featured image shows my kind of shaggy garden