We got the keys for our first home in June 2011. It was very exciting for me, not because I was about to own a house but because I was about to become a garden owner, and could finally have a patch of land to nurture creation in! As an Ecologist keen on getting wildlife back into gardens, the most important thing to me is a garden.
This garden was a nature-desert, a blank canvas of closely mown lawn and cypress tree rows, providing endless opportunity for habitat creation and encouragement of wildlife. We watched it grow and change that first summer, observing where the sun fell, which areas wildlife valued and where we could make things better for nature. In Autumn 2011 we set about to fulfil our first responsibility to nurture God’s garden as we were asked to in Genesis, to return God’s creation to this barren space. After nearly 10 years I’m impressed how far we’ve come, although I’m still keen to do more. It’s an extensive list for a small semi-urban space, but anyone can have a go themselves. Here’s what we did:
We manage this all with wildlife in mind, only trimming the hedge once berries have gone, less frequent lawn mowing and leaving wilder areas. We still managed some traditional English gardening with a vegetable patch and some flower beds, so doing both is possible. And this seems to have inspired others: last year we made Hedgehog Box 2 and installed it in a school, plus planted a new hedgerow and woodland area.
Why not try starting off with one small change and see how nature can flourish? It’s so fulfilling watching nature return and by doing so, helps us return to God’s way of living at peace with all creation (Col 1:20).
This ‘Meet the Community’ article was written by Dr Rosalind King, for the Wild Christian email, ‘Nature and celebration.’ Rosalind King has an Ecology degree from Lancaster University and a Ph.D. in Restoration Ecology from Liverpool University. Based in North West England, she actively manages her garden for wildlife, undertakes conservation activities in her local woods and enjoys a varied career as a Consultant Ecologist helping bats, badgers, newts and other creatures stay safe.