16 October 2022: Today I learned:
Something happy! That Most Garden Problems Can Be Solved With More Plants:
“I think we treat our plants with too much reverence. We need to let them get tangled up, struggle, and compete. And even fade away. This is how nature works, and we do the plants — and our goals of creating a sustainable ecosystem — a disservice when we space plants far apart and without layers.”
I don’t really need any more encouragement to do what I was going to do anyway.
But — there’s more detailed info here than you might suspect from the title, some reasons why more plants is a good thing, in case someone who thinks you just have a messy overplanted garden asks. The post, btw, is written by Benjamin Vogt at The Deep Middle (he lives in Nebraska). I follow him on Instagram (though I don’t actually agree with everything he says) and have appreciated his (sometimes free) online webinars.
Some benefits of greater plant density and layering include increasing wildlife habitat, for their benefit and ours, by adding plants and plant-filled spaces that provide shelter, food and nest sources, hiding places; reducing erosion — “more plants intercept more rainfall which they hold on their leaves and stems … [and] more plants means more roots” to hold soil in place; increasing soil moisture, since both shade and roots slow evaporation from the soil; better competition of your chosen plants against “weeds”: “Nature abhors a vacuum and wants to fill in the space — will you let it fill in with crabgrass or would you rather have some pretty flowers with foliage butterfly larvae eat?”
If you want to watch a video on adding plant layers to your garden or planting plant communities, these are $29 from Vogt’s website.
As Vogt so rightly concludes: “Wildlife don’t want big gaps of wood mulch — they want plants. Plants want plants. You want more plants. Your plant addiction wants more plants.” Yup.
Bonus TIL: If you just want to add some cottage plants to your garden, here’s a list of 40 good bodyguards for plants that snails and slugs like to eat — the source is in Germany, but the list is widely applicable to temperate climates.
Featured image: my untidy overplanted side yard on 28 Sept. – asters, blueberry, amsonia, lemon balm, cherry tree, lilacs, goldenrods, phlox, crocosmia, clethra, cardinal flower, blue lobelia, sensitive ferns, some other fern, nasturtiums, sunflower, and more!