Inlumino Global

Less is More

A two acre plot in a remote part of the Upper Wye valley has been my home for 18 years, and my focus of attention from the start has been to transform it from a much-admired weed-free and highly controlled show garden to a place that is a haven for wildlife.

“Experts” told me earnestly, often and with good intention what needed to be done in my garden to help nature over the years, and I believed them.  Thanks to them and with the help of a knowledgeable gardener one day a week, change happened.  I made mistakes but learned from them, and thanks to his and others’ advice and my research I felt I was starting to understand what needed to be done to create the garden I wanted.  Otters came along with water voles, pine martens, hares, willow tits and other threatened species, but I knew something was not right.  

When lockdowns were enforced last year it was a natural point to separate from the gardener, and a temporary pause became a permanent separation: it was right, for both of us.  When I was fully on my own at a very peaceful time, I watched and listened and reflected, and realised that there was another, better way, and that conventional wisdom about encouraging wildlife through controlling it was not necessarily correct.  Less was more, and the resulting change of my new philosophy was instant. 

As weeds flourished and lawns became meadows, as thickets became tangles of gorse, bramble and blackthorn, as hedgerows billowed unchecked, as old trees fell and grew again, as silence reigned in the absence of loud gardening machinery, as human activity was minimised, the relief in the soul of the garden was palpable.  It started to relax and breathe: the ecosystem became restored.

There is much more for me to re-learn about how to best support my land, and many of the latest rewilding ideas are invaluable as well as revelatory.  I realise now how valuable are the traditional gentle gardening methods that emulate the activity of ancient grazing animals, such as scything or coppicing, and how much indiscriminate damage we do with heavy strimmers, chain saws and even lawn mowers. 

Less is more, and this concept applies in our human lives.  We too need to be able to breathe, to have minimal noise and disturbance, to avoid being compulsive about tidiness, to stop controlling our environment or having everything the way we want it at the expense of others.  Making life easy for ourselves through technology or careless labour-saving gadgets can be at great cost.  Spiders deserve to live too.

(A thoughtful contact kindly reminded me of two excellent books on nature and rewilding by Benedict Macdonald.  They are Rebirding, and Orchard.)



12 thoughts on “Less is More

  1. I found your blog on Feedspot and was instantly hooked with this post. It resonates with much of what I hold as dear and valuable and have feebly tried to express in my own blog (bobwolff.org). I will be sure to bookmark your site and should you find the time, would love it if you might peruse mine. Peace.

  2. Less is indeed more….Far too much interference from humankind..& What is this compulsive habit of lawn mowing???Its not the true nature of how things would look if left to their own devices! When i lived on the houseboat on the canal in the marina every october they d come along with a huge digger ripping up the reeds.October because the birds had nested/had their young but what about all the tiny creatures we hardly see that also exist? Its a matter of opinion what are weeds and what are not..much of these flourishing plants have medicinal qualities & are plants that often help maintaining the balance of the Eco system. Re gardeners,opinions vary so much & go against the natural order quite often we heard when I studied permaculture in 2010. We were shown examples of how things could and did go very wrong. when the land begins to heal & thrive its amazing how many species will be attracted to the new energies. Ive seen this when we visited a forest garden in devon. As soon as the habitat can support life, more life comes..its something to behold

    • Thank you, Sat Kartar. There is much sad truth in what you say – so much is lost through our carelessness and thoughtlessness. But I like to think a different way of thinking is coming through, and I have hope for the future of our beautiful world.

  3. Your post spoke to something I’ve been musing on for the last few months and highlighted a challenge I see ahead of us.

    If you ever watch TV, you might have seen an advert about global warming and the climate pledge that apparently 150 companies have signed. All good you might think. But it’s sandwiched between adverts for consumer goods and services.

    I’d like to challenge the companies who signed up to really see that what they offer simply exacerbates and encourages us to assume we can change the world without changing ourselves. That somehow we can bring nature into line without putting in the effort of reducing our consumptive habits and changing the way we live within nature.

    It’s a conundrum as which politician is ever going to say ‘we must stop buying goods and services?’ and which company is ever going to admit to being part of the problem?

    • That is such a good point you make, Linda, thank you. Too many people and companies talk about helping the environment but with no wish to be affected personally.
      They could have some shocks coming along!

  4. Hello, Claire!

    There are pockets of green in Chicago, Illinois, particularly on the north side of town. Also of interest is this: in the Loop (city centre), there are trees planted, flower boxes, etc.

    Moreover, one homeless man who parks himself/has a spot just across the street from Union Station I have known to feed the birds in his vicinity. He’s a decent chap, and I’ve been helping him a bit.

    • Thank you, William – and good to hear from you! I know you do your best for the environment and the vulnerable, and achieve much. Wildlife can be a great comfort for the homeless: it does not judge, and brings reminders that there is beauty in the world. I know you know this!

  5. It’s quite puzzling how I stumbled on to your blog. In the quest for Christian based information, and a couple of clicks here and there, I came to “Less is more.” Great article and beautiful picture. Thank you!

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“As weeds flourished…….”