You know the signs, the relationship isn’t as fun as it used to be, they just seem to be high maintenance and you get less back than you put in? I guess I’ve known this for a while now, I’ve tried ignoring the signs, maybe it’s just a phase? Things will get better in time? I just need to try a bit harder. Eventually you come to realise that you’ve had your time together, the relationship has run its course and that it’s time to be moving on. Now this isn’t a decision to be taken lightly, breaking up and starting afresh can be daunting and for sure there are going to be things that I know I’ll miss. There may even be some regrets but the time has come for me to accept that it’s just not working out. It’s not like it has all been bad, if that had been the case then this would be a whole lot easier, yet deep down I know that change is needed.
And so I am about to rip out my exotics in favour of a more native palette. No more greedy, thirsty, princesses always wanting more food, more water and more heat. No more windowsills crammed with tender plants during the winter and no more garish tarpaulins covering chicken wire cages stuffed with straw to insulate the Musa through the coldest winter nights.
In their place and taking centre stage will be a wildlife pond, margins blurred by marsh-marigolds, purple loosestrife and flowering rushes. Log piles, a hedgehog house and a bee hotel will provide habitats for the local wildlife to raise the next generation. A small wildflower meadow will bring grass and flowers to what is currently gravel and native shrubs including hawthorn, sloe and hazel will provide abundant food for birds, squirrels and other wildlife.
I am hoping to welcome slow worms and frogs back to the garden, as well as new visitors such as newts, dragonflies and damselflies. Importantly, I want to provide as many food plants as possible for insect larvae. Whilst plants for pollinators are great, you can’t have adult butterflies and moths without first having caterpillars and sacrificing a few plants along the way.
I have already taken steps to find new homes for some of my exotics. Those that don’t get adopted will end up getting composted, which is another thing that needs changing out. The black plastic bins will be swapped for something more rustic and wildlife friendly.
There’s a lot to do and I can’t wait to get started!