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Searching for balance

Posted 02/05/2016 - By Harley Farmer

Why would Nature need help? Because we humans oscillate between providing help and hinderance.

Given the immense power of Nature, how can any one of us do anything of measurable significance? We can’t; not as individuals. Collectively we can.

We combine our hinderance which is now apparently showing as climate change. Yet, in global terms, each of us only provides a tiny amount of hinderance and to balance that we only need to provide a tiny amount of help.

I like having a reasonably sized garden divided into areas of lawn, flower beds and organic vegetable patches. My busy life helping people create happiness around the world means I rely on nature to help me with the crops. When I look after the birds they happily work away on our combined venture eating insects and grubs. Great for me and the birds yet not so nice for the prey. Recycling plant waste through compost and applying it to the soil keeps the earthworms active and improves the soil texture. We’re in the driest part of England on sandy soil making it useful to add organic matter to the soil for the retention of what rain falls. I like to believe that brings happiness to the worms although proving that’s a bit tricky as they never seem to smile.

Gardening in that organic fashion means I also have a profusion of slugs and they love to feast on most of what I plant. Since I won’t use chemicals to kill slugs I like to make the garden favourable to toads which love to feast on these slimy little residents.

It’s all aboutPond team balance. Toads need water to breed so I’ve created a wildlife pond in the back garden. Henry from next door helped me with the digging and a big smile. Now that smile you can see! When people are allowed to help they share the gains and Henry loves seeing what wildlife is growing in the pond he helped create.

What of the natural balance? As it happens, newts have commandeered the pond. They’re great at eating insects in the vegetable patches, which is good, and dislike eating slugs, which is less helpful. Their eggs hatch before toad eggs and the voracious tiny efts (baby newts) eat the toad eggs. I have a flourishing population of newts and no new army of baby toads!

It was a grand plan which is currently favouring the slugs so they win for yet another year while I’m working on my next strategy. The beautiful water lilies in the pond are my consolation.

In reality our garden is very productive and the slugs will be providing more help than hinderance, as is Nature’s way. I’m actually having fun helping Nature by sharing my space with wildlife. It makes me happy and I suspect a lot of those slugs are wearing big slimy smiles.

I would love to hear what you’re doing to help Nature. Whether it’s pot-plants on a windowsill or acres of butterfly-friendly planting it all helps.