My ARK Garden
The aim of this long term project was to give half my garden back to nature by creating an ARK.
What is an ARK?
An Ark is a restored, native ecosystem, a local, small, medium or large rewilding project. It’s a thriving patch of native plants and creatures that have been allowed and supported to re-establish in the earths intelligent, successional process of natural restoration. Over time this becomes a pantry and a habitat for our pollinators and wild creatures who are in desperate need of support.
I am lucky enough to have an acre of garden and an acre field attached. Two years ago I left about a quarter of my garden to become more natural. I stopped cutting it back & I stopped controlling it, apart from creating a pathway through it.
I have been guiding remote nature/forest therapy walks from my garden since January 2020.
My overall aim, in addition to creating an ARK garden, was to establish a Nature Therapy Centre at my home, to conduct Nature Therapy guided walks here, as well as nature/well-being related activities and training courses.
What are the aims of an ARK?
- To raise awareness of the extinction event we are experiencing.
Right now, it might be the loss of rare or unusual mosses, or creatures you might not come across often, but one day very soon, it will be that beloved hedgehog or thrush.
We need to create safe havens for ALL the creatures we are supposed to share this planet with.
- To give as much land as possible back into nature’s hands.
- To create a web of interconnected living sanctuaries that will become the seeds to restore our planetary diversity and health.
- To provide something important for me to do to support life on earth.
- To create a movement that empowers people.
- To open a window on sustainable food production and encourage more of us to grow food using life supporting approaches.
- To raise awareness of the dangerous and destructive effects that chemicals have on every aspect of the natural world – including us.
- Once a balanced, diverse landscape is restored, everything moves back towards a harmonious natural self-sustaining system.
- To support people, schools, corporations and local governments to let their gardens, parklands and public wastelands become wild, become untidy and wild, without being shamed by passers-by and neighbours. Messy is good! There is very little life in a ‘tidy’ garden.
- To rebrand “weeds’ as native wild plants that are natures ecosystem foundation stones. To help educate people about the huge value of meadows and scrublands in habitat creation and ecosystem development.
- To get people to question deep seated, unconscious actions in their management of nature in man-made landscapes.
- Why are we cutting that lawn?
- Why are we ‘weeding’ the beds of non-native shrubs and flowers?
- Why remove dandelions and other native plants when they are such an important source of pollen for insects in the spring?