TOBY BUCK­LAND

Like Don­ald Trump, sting­ing net­tles are a bear­able pain

Amateur Gardening - - Contents -

TO think that we thought Me­gan and Harry made a beau­ti­ful cou­ple! But their nup­tials are as noth­ing com­pared to the cur­rent Kim Jong-un and Don­ald Trump bro­mance! The Love between these two gen­tle souls has not only low­ered the sim­mer­ing ten­sion on the Korean penin­sula, it has also warmed hearts and in­spired me to end a phoney war of my own – the one in my gar­den.

I’ve been bat­tling the weeds that grow in the cor­ner of my gar­den for over a decade, and every sum­mer af­ter I’ve dug up the grass and net­tles they grow back to be as big as they were be­fore. This has made me re­alise that per­haps it’s time to bury the hatchet or, rather, hide the hoe and not bother again.

Don’t get me wrong, I still won’t tol­er­ate weeds that smother plants or spread like ground el­der and bindweed. But easy-to-fork dan­de­lions and daisies loved by bees will al­ways have room in my lawn. Be­sides, my net­tles mind their own busi­ness, and feel­ing as though I must do some­thing about them turns the plea­sur­able pas­time of pot­ter­ing into a tyranny of jobs. Turn­ing the other cheek means I now look at them with pride, es­pe­cially as they’re so good for wildlife.

More than any flower, stingers have the po­ten­tial to help be­lea­guered but­ter­flies; the leaves are the favoured food for cater­pil­lars of five Bri­tish species (see panel above). Hav­ing a gar­den full of nec­tar plants at­tracts the egg-lay­ing adults, but the pres­ence of net­tles means they’ll lay their eggs – al­though for this to work, they must be in sun and shel­ter, as but­ter­flies avoid shade and get blown next door on windy sites.

It was see­ing but­ter­flies thriv­ing on net­tles grow­ing on what was once a close-mown coun­cil verge that changed my at­ti­tude. It looked un­tidy at first, but I now ap­pre­ci­ate the woolly look and the wildlife it at­tracts. Like cropped verges, scrub­bing the doorstep or im­press­ing the Jone­ses with a man­i­cured lawn, per­haps fas­tid­i­ous weed­ing will be­come a thing of the past. Stranger things have hap­pened – af­ter all, Trump is pres­i­dent!

“More than any flower, stingers help but­ter­flies”

Wild plants will bring pol­li­na­tors to your gar­den Net­tle leaves pro­vide nour­ish­ment for the cater­pil­lars of but­ter­flies like the comma Tor­toise­shell but­ter­fly eggs on the un­der­side of a net­tle leaf

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.