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Re-wilding… it’s a thing.

This garden of weeds took home gold!

a close up of a flower garden: The judges at RHS Flower Show Tatton Park, in Cheshire, have awarded a gold medal to a garden full of weedsThe plot – named Weed Thriller – was handed the award at the RHS Tatton Flower Show in Cheshire.Horticulturist Sandra Nock told the BBC that they thought they might be given Nil Point by  the RHS but, on the contrary, they were receptive and complimentary. She added that “Without this kind of multi-layer native planting, a lot of our insects and birds just wouldn’t cope.”Rachel Evatt from Sunart Fields – the Derbyshire farm behind the concept said: “They are wild plants that have been branded incorrectly as weeds and some people would say that a weed is just a plant in the wrong place.

“So what we are saying is really to embrace all of these wild plants, especially controversial species like the ragwort, which are one of the most important sources of nectar for a wide variety of insects.

“We are just trying to rebrand the weed as just wild plants that we can embrace and enjoy as much as we can other flowers.”  The team behind the plot, named Weed Thriller, wanted to show that native plants are not just beautiful but essential for wildlife.

Weed Thriller’s award comes just a couple of weeks after the Government backed a movement dubbed ‘no-mow’ to encourage people to cut their grass less, in a bid to increase food substance for bees.

Re-wilding

‘m truly excited by this as Honeysuckle Rose, the heroine of my new book, REDEEMED BY HER MIDSUMMER KISS, out today in the US in both paperback and digital, comes from generations of gardeners who have made their mark on the landscape. One is an early adopted of organic horticulture. The most recent, her beloved Great Aunt Flora, was a pioneer of re-wilding.

The book begins with an attack on her precious nettles, breeding ground for several species of butterfly by her new neighbour, front line news reporter Lucien Grey.

Here’s a taster –

‘MURDERER!’

Lucien Grey’s first reaction to the furious pounding on his front door had been to ignore it. After a succession of village worthies, from the vicar to the chair of the parish council, had called to introduce themselves, invite him to open the summer fete, join the bridge, cricket and tennis clubs, all of which he’d politely declined, he’d found a screwdriver and removed the knocker.

And the village had finally got the message.

This, however, was not the polite knock of someone hoping to involve him in some local good cause.

The hammering was hard enough to rattle the letterbox.

Concerned that there might have been an accident in the lane, that there might be casualties, he curled his fingers into fists to stop his hands from shaking and forced himself away from his desk.

Confronted by a furious female thrusting a fistful of wilting vegetation in his face, it was too late to regret his decision, but he didn’t have to stand there and take abuse from some crazy woman.

Wearing dungarees that had seen better days, her white-blonde hair escaping from a knotted scarf and pink, overheated cheeks, she looked like someone out of a Dig for Victory poster circa 1942.

He took a step back, intending to close the door, but she had her boot on the sill faster than the thought could travel from his brain to his hand.

It was a substantial leather boot, laced with green twine and as he stared at it, a lump of dried mud broke off, shattering into dust and clouding the polished surface of the hall floor.

‘Who are you?’ he demanded. ‘What do you want?’

The words were out of his mouth before he could stop them. He didn’t care who she was or what she wanted.

Too late.

She was going to tell him and, with her foot firmly in the door, there was no escape other than walking away and leaving her in possession of his doorstep.

Tempting, as the thought was, she was clearly riled enough to follow him inside to continue her verbal battery, so he stood his ground.

‘I live in the cottage next door,’ she replied, ‘and you have sprayed my garden with poison.’

She was tall but the lack of makeup, the shining pinkness of her face made her look like girl playing dress up in her great-grandmother’s – make that her great-grandfather’s — clothes. Her expression, as murderous as her ridiculous accusation, eyes sparking with fury, suggested otherwise.

‘Look at these!’

She shook the dying plants in his face, the bright yellow rubber gloves she was wearing adding to the bizarre image.

He looked at them, then frowned.

‘They’re nettles.’ This madwoman was berating him over nettles? ‘Dead nettles.’ Clearly not a disgruntled member of the gardening club… ‘Whoever sprayed them did you favour, but it wasn’t me.’

‘Not dead. Dying,’ she snapped back. ‘Dead nettles are Lamium album, a valuable nectar source for bumble bees. These are Urtica dioca, the habitat and food source for red admiral, peacock and small tortoiseshell butterflies.’

‘Madam, you may not have noticed but there are hundreds of nettles–‘

‘If you look carefully,’ she said, cutting him off mid-sentence,

‘you will see where the caterpillars have woven silk tents around themselves while they pupate.’ She pointed the tip of a grubby yellow rubber finger at one of the wilted leaves. ‘That is a red admiral,’ she added. Then, in case he hadn’t got the point. ‘Would have been a red admiral if the nettle patch hadn’t been sprayed with weedkiller.’

‘I’m sorry, but if you’d witnessed some of the atrocities that I’ve seen you wouldn’t be weeping over a few butterflies.’

‘Sorry?’ She looked up from the nettles. ‘Such an easy word to say and rendered meaningless the moment you followed it with “but”.

She was right, of course, but he wasn’t about to indulge in semantics with the woman. He just wanted her gone and rescue came from an unexpected source.

‘Isn’t that a caterpillar?’ he said, as he spotted a movement amongst the wilted leaves. ‘It looks very much alive to me.’

‘What?’ She took a closer look. ‘Oh my god, it’s a small tortoiseshell. There’ll be dozens of them.’

‘And I have it on good authority that they’ll be very hungry.’

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