Embracing the Wild in Our Gardens: A Tale from Natchez Glen House

Embracing the Wild in Our Gardens: A Tale from Natchez Glen House

At the heart of the verdant landscapes of Natchez Glen House, there is a lesson that reverberates through the rustling leaves, dancing flowers, and the mesmerizing hues that bloom from the earth - plants, irrespective of their origin, hold an essential place in our gardens. This realization didn’t happen overnight but has slowly unfolded as I’ve immersed myself in the rhythms of nature and gardening.

In the past, people seemed to segregate garden plants, designating them as either cultivated or wild. A perception rooted, perhaps, in the allure of the new and exotic that swept across Europe and America during the colonial era. Plants like peonies, roses, dahlias, and hydrangeas were celebrated, “discovered”, and brought to cultivated gardens, while many native species were often overlooked, simply referred to as “wildflowers”.

However, here at Natchez Glen House, we’re rewriting this narrative. Our garden borders bustle with a diverse mixture of species, where “cultivated” plants grow in harmony with their “wild” cousins.

Take for example, our peonies. In one part of the garden, a row of peonies stands alone. As summer heats up, their foliage, once lush and vibrant, begins to show signs of stress. Yet, in another area, where peonies grow side by side with an array of plants including the vibrant Ratibida pinnata, a “wildflower”, the peonies retain their robust vitality.

This anecdote underscores a key principle of gardening — diversity encourages resilience. The “wildflowers” contribute to the ecosystem in a way that supports the overall health of all plants in the mixed border. It seems that the formal peonies appreciate the company of their “wild” neighbours, their beauty undiminished even as the seasons shift.

At Natchez Glen House, we believe every plant, whether “wild” or “cultivated”, has a vital role in the garden. Embracing this approach invites a rich tapestry of plant life that offers multiple benefits, from improved soil quality and pest protection to visual interest throughout the year.

As we continue our gardening journey, we look forward to nurturing this diverse community of plants, ensuring that every species, from the beloved peony to the humble Ratibida pinnata, finds its rightful place under the sun.

Remember, a garden, much like nature, thrives on diversity. We’re just custodians, tending to the garden while learning from its wisdom. So, let’s redefine what we perceive as “wild” or “cultivated”, because in the grand theater of nature, every plant has a unique part to play. Together, they create a symphony of life that enriches not only our gardens but our souls as well.

From Natchez Glen House, we invite you to explore this beautiful interplay, where we see every day how the “wild” and the “cultivated” intertwine in the dance of life.
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