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Dear Alan, we agree.

Recently, you mentioned that gardens can be great for biodiversity, but abandoning a mature garden to grow into dense bramble thickets, or turning it entirely over to a low-growing wildflower meadow might actually be worse for nature.

I’m a rewilder. So you might be surprised to find out that I agree. Many non-natives can be good for biodiversity if they’re planted in a diverse, wildlife-friendly garden – I’ve pictured this below.

But there’s also a benefit to native plants that I’m sure you appreciate. That deep and long-lasting relationship they’ve built up with our native wildlife from caterpillars to mycorrhizae (it’s always fun spelling that one).

Leaf Cutting Bee Holes
Holes from a leaf-cutting bee in the non-native Snowy Mespilus (Amelanchier lamarckii) that sits in my front garden next to a ‘bee hotel’

That is what makes native plants so great for gardens – just like a pond, they punch above their weight when it comes to supporting other species.

But I don’t think people should throw out their Lavender. Perhaps add in a few natives alongside it, or create a special patch that’s dedicated to natives, just like you do for vegetables or the lawn – that’s what I did (I still love my Lavender!).

Lavender
A Bumble Bee feeds on the nectar provided by Lavender in my front garden

In fact, I’ve listed a few native plants that you can actually use in the vegetable garden (the Food/Drink filter). Because there’s a HUGE variety of species with bunches of benefits that most people simply aren’t aware of. I’m just getting started with the list.

This website is designed to make it fun to discover those plants. I hope you enjoy using it as much as I’ve enjoyed watching you on TV and listening to you on the radio for the past 30-odd years.

The idea of this site is to add momentum to the flywheel of native plant nurseries in the UK. These independent enterprises need all the help they can get – they’re doing great work, and I’m sure you’d be happy to bring more attention to it. That’s why I offer free listings for a number of sellers alongside the sponsored options.

"How many filters do you want?" "All of them."

It’s probably worth flagging up that I found alantitchmarsh.co.uk for sale, so I bought it. You were kind enough to come on the podcast I produced at Candide, so I’ll happily return the favour and send the domain to you as soon as you get in touch (for free obviously!). Catch me on Linkedin or drop me an email.

Happy planting,

Chris

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