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Who has the most beautiful natural garden?

Lusher cottage garden in Hubertshofen (Source: Holger von Briel)

The Donaueschingen-Hüfingen-Bräunlingen Association of Municipal Authorities had announced a natural garden competition for 2010. They were looking for gardens in which nature is not trimmed with lawn mowers and hedge trimmers, but in which the private recreation area, flower and vegetable beds and many small biotopes form a harmonious unit. In June, a commission of experts and local councils examined and evaluated the gardens of the competition participants. The main winners received shopping vouchers for self-marketing businesses in the triangle of cities worth 500, 300 and 200 €, the other participants received prizes worth 30 €. A list of the companies that redeem the vouchers can be found on the competition homepage.

In order to help the participants, a series of press articles described what is important and how to give your natural garden the finishing touches. In addition, a new brochure on the subject of natural gardens has been available in the town halls since April.

The aim of a natural garden is to give as many native plants and animals as possible a chance to live. By clever design, valuable habitats can also be created on a limited area. Sometimes even small changes are enough to create a home for songbirds, amphibians and butterflies.

With the help of the following questions you’ve got to think about the ecological worth your garden has up till now and where the starting points for a more natural design are:

  • Gardens which offer an diversified surface structure are not only optically appealing. It can develop from dry walls to the humid biotope various small biotopes. We shall give the nature the chance to develop itself. “Live and let live.“ is the motto for natural gardeners.Eventually we don’t need to cut back our needs: The breakfast corner or the playing surface for the children can be integrated offhand and vegetable patches have their justification, too.
  • Is there at least a part of the lawn that is spared from the mower in order to let wild flowers like crane’s bill or marguerite grow? They are not only an eye catcher but also an important food source for various animal species.
  • How is it about local groves? Typical plants on the Baar, like wayfaring tree or buckthorn are more asked by birds than rhododendron, biota and blue spruce.
  • Where could you renaturate sealed surfaces (e.g. paths, car pounds ort he roof of a garage) in order to let the rain water trickle away? A cistern is easily installed to the down-pipes of the gutter. So you can save drinking water.
  • What about the turf? Pure turf is low-nutrient and acidifies the ground. Fertilizing turf conatins artificial fertilizer. By the abandonment of turf worthy moor landscapes are protected. Why don’t you use compost or bark mulch fort soil improvement?  A garden dump saves the brown bin.
  • Some pests are destructed by that, too. Is the usage of the chemical bat prevented beause of this? Preferably planting with the regard of the location, using biological pesticides (sewages and extracts) and accepting a few more lices, than shooting with cannons on sparrows.
  • Does the garden offer accommodation to more animals than titmices, e.g. hedgehogs, insects or bats.
  • Is the fence just there as an boundary marking or could you plant an hedge instead? Does a possibility for the hedgehog exist which allows him to reach the neighbouring plot unopposed?
  • Are twiners allowed to grow upwards on the exterior wall? An intact brick work is not damaged by that.

Gardens which offer an diversified surface structure are not only optically appealing. It can develop from dry walls to the humid biotope various small biotopes. We shall give the nature the chance to develop itself. “Live and let live.“ is the motto for natural gardeners.

Eventually we don’t need to cut back our needs: The breakfast corner or the playing surface for the children can be integrated offhand and vegetable patches have their justification, too.

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