This series of charming summer allotment cottages (located within garden villages or colonies in Landskrona and Lund, Sweden), are more retreats rather than utilitarian gardens. They reflect a conviction in the importance of surrounding oneself with heritage flowers, edible plants and fruit trees, and taking refuge within one’s own vision of living closer to nature. This is a simpler approach to life, where tending the garden, reading, observing, enjoying one’s own food, and sharing time with allotment neighbours is given a sense of priority. The creative essence of the gardens seems to be carefree planting, each a sanctuary with a sense of growing abundance and to some extent a degree of personal anarchy. The garden colonies are a world apart, a community of enchantment, where people plant according to their own instincts.

The Insect Garden, located within The Castle Gardens in Malmo, Sweden apologises for being “untidy”, but it’s this characteristic that describes its unfettered complexity and lush ecology. Mullein, teasel and globe thistle generate the upper canopy of this many layered garden, full of seed-heads, insects, ¬†flowers and texture.

This popular organic garden located in the centre of Malmo, and open 24 hours a day, is a collaboration between the town council, and a collective of inspired gardeners. Everyone is welcome to work alongside the gardeners and there is genuine encouragement for organic gardening and learning. The Insect Garden is an example of how a mixture of wild and perennial flowers can create an environment not only for insects, but also act as a kind of reverie for the senses.

Radical Nature Gardening

August 17, 2010

Characteristics of Dissident Nature Gardening:

1. Encourage idiosyncratic planting styles, expressing the personality of the gardener(s)

2. Promote abundant self-seeding of wild flowers, herbs and edible plants

3. Welcome the appearance and growth of long wild grass

4. Create planting areas that are not rectangular, but quirky

5. Mix random colours, textures and heights of plants together

6. Abandon obsessive weeding behaviour – a garden is never ‘clean’ of weeds

7. Move vegetable gardens to the front of the house (or school or community centre), and vow not to work in tidy rows. Vegetables grow better within communities of different kinds of edible plants or even within flower beds.

8. Strive to promote biodiversity planting, mix vegetables with edible wild plants, soft fruits and herbs

9. Remove manicured lawns whenever possible

10. Engage with gardens as a living experience, a garden is not a stage, use its food, remedies, creative presence, and culture as a sanctuary and stimulus

Photos: Irish Wildflowers – Purple Loosestrife, Teasel, Knapweed