The garden should be easy to care for.

This works best when gravel suppresses everything that sprout and greens in the front yard, or when the stressed garden owner lets everything sprout that birds drop and ants carry away.

Between the gravel garden, which further fuels the microclimates of overheated cities, and the overgrown garden, which repels the neighbors, there is a cultivated habitat for people, animals and plants that could integrate the extremists of the divided garden society.

Francis Bacon, English statesman and philosopher, already had such a cultivated wilderness in mind when he designed a “heath” for his ideal garden in 1625: “The ground should be covered with violets, strawberries and primroses, and without order.” Small bushes of roses, juniper and holly he imagined,

Claudia Schulke

Freelance author in the Rhein-Main-Zeitung.

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This contradiction between wild growth and order inspired William Robinson two and a half centuries later.

Born in Ireland and trained as a gardener, he specialized in hardy herbs and native wildflowers in London's Regent's Park.

In 1870 he published the bible of the natural gardeners: "The Wild Garden".

Robinson turned against everything artificial and formal, against statues, fountains and Victorian carpet beds with their garish colors of greenhouse annual flowers.

The natural growth of the plants determined its free design, in which human intervention should no longer be visible.

Perennial plants replaced the annual expensive exotic species.

These included asters and the Canadian goldenrod, now frowned upon by conservationists as an "invasive neophyte",

but is popular with honey bees as a late summer pasture.

Robinson followed nature, which he believed to be the source of proper garden design.

beauty through clutter

The royal horticultural director Willy Lange in Potsdam and Berlin-Wannsee made this concept his own.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the garden architect propagated “biological aesthetics”.

The ecological garden, which is based on the favorable location of the plants, goes back to him.

The renowned perennial gardener Karl Foerster was inspired by Lange.

Both joined the NSDAP.

This is how the natural garden got the reputation of “Blood and Soil”.

Only the environmentalists in the early seventies rehabilitated it as a "habitat" for flora and fauna.

The literary critic and writer Helmut Salzinger was one of these city refugees.

"Like a savage" he felt

In the eighties things became more civil again.

The Swiss landscape gardener Andreas Winkler railed against "fighting life with weed killers and insecticides" in his standard work "The Other Natural Garden";

but the established garden culture was at least taken seriously again.

In the Netherlands, landscape gardener Piet Oudolf continues the traditions of Karl Foerster and William Robinson with hardy perennials like daphne, coneflower and, yes, Canadian goldenrod.

He imitates natural plant communities, for example in the prairie garden, considers colors to be negligible and structures to be essential.

Grasses bring wildness to his artificially created ecosystem, dried blossoms serve as design elements.

And yet he does not entirely dispense with formally trimmed yew hedges.

The current German nature garden pope Reinhard Witt would hardly think of such a thing.

For him, the motto is: “What is beautiful for us must also be useful for the animals.” In practice, for him this means: “Focusing on native wild plants and designing them in such a way that they are aesthetically appealing. Among the 3,800 native wild plants in this country, he appreciates bluebells for specialized wild bees, viper’s bugloss for bumblebees and butterflies, medicinal ziest and trefoil.

But wildflowers that are appropriate to the location alone do not make a natural garden.

Artificial fertilizers, peat and poison should be avoided in such a habitat.

A lawn carpet could grow into a herb lawn, a flower meadow, if mowed infrequently.

A pond for dragonflies and newts, a swamp bed for amphibians, a dry stone wall or small stone pyramids for lizards, heaps of brushwood, leaves and dead wood for hedgehogs, beetles and robins, a sandarium for wild bees, old fruit trees as quarters for tits, woodpeckers and bilch - diverse small structures make the near-natural garden a lively hidden object.