The backlash

A boyfriend once said to be careful what you say because after something has been said it can never be taken back. My neighbour, last night, did say sorry and I can forgive her but the fact remains……

I love my front garden and at the same time can appreciate that it is not to everyone’s taste. It is however not just my front garden and no one else’s, it is perfectly legal and within the covenants on the property to change a lawn into flower beds. It is also valid to encourage wildlife, including pollinators, and add positively to our poisoned eco-system.

Being told therefore that your neighbour is going to have your gardening activities stopped is hardly the kind of thing that you need to hear when you get home from work and want to prepare your child’s evening meal. 

My poor neighbour doesn’t feel she can open her windows because of the insects. And I should think of the children who might get stung by the bumblebees. 

I don’t ultimately know what I am more shocked by but I’m a fighter and I will stand by what I believe to be right. My daughter deserves the best world that I can give her so the phacelia is staying for as long as I want it to. And the bumblebees are welcome any time.

front garden with phacelia and mustard


About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
This entry was posted in Gardening, Good for the environment, Permaculture, Social, Wildlife and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to The backlash

  1. Wild Chat says:

    Think you are quite right. We need bees and biodiversity and this is an effective small scale way of doing that.

  2. Oh boy .. I dont get people. There are bees dying from what they have no idea.. To have bees about enjoying food is wonderful. Cant she see how lovely those flowers are? She could shut those windows and enjoy nature!

  3. Stick with it. Even if you had a lawn you could still have flowers and attract those nasty insects. (Though my neighbour reported me to the police for having a disorderly garden so I’m not really a role model in this area.)

    • Helen says:

      Reported you to the police!!!!

      In UK law, there is nothing anyone can do about a ‘disorderly’ garden unless it is a health hazard (eg piles of rubbish encouraging rats). Hope the police used their common sense….

      And you are right, I could very well have kept the lawn and had a few flowers with the same result. Wouldn’t have been half as pleasant for me to look at, though😉.

  4. Cynthia says:

    Stressful for you, having to deal with that. I definitely would not back down either. Maybe you could share some literature with her on the declining bee populations and biodiversity . Might want to include something about the dangers of pesticides and herbicides. Maybe her focus will shift and she’ll understand how wonderful your garden is

  5. Lovely post sorry you having problems with your neighbour over your front garden and pray that every thing will get sorted out and your lovely flower bed stays Helen

  6. streepie says:

    I am sorry to hear about your neighbour – but as it has already been said – people are afraid of change, and if the only thing they are used to are manicured front lawns that are devoid of any biodiversity, something as “messy” as your front garden full of flowers teaming with bees and bumblebees and butterflies and hover flies might be intimidating. (there are people who honestly think that a forest with dead logs, branches and leaves on the ground is messy and needs to be cleaned up).

    But as she has already heard about the need to protect bees, you’ll need to take baby steps and educate her – about the roles insects play in pollinating plants (and so ensure that we have food – about 80% of the plants humans grow are insect pollinated!) and in being food for baby birds (even seed eating birds feed their young insects, because of the fat and protein content).
    And of course – who does not like butterflies to look at?
    Tell her what you do, and why you do it – and hopefully she’ll come around. If I tell people about nature/biodiversity, what it is and what it does, they usually respond with “oh, that is interesting, I did not know that!”

    And bumble bees might be able to sting, but they rarely do – they are usually very docile, and even don’t mind if you carefully touch them.

    Courage – you are doing the right thing with your garden!!! I wish more people would do the same!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    P.S. there is actually more and more evidence for the negative effects of pesticides not only on bees, but also the human health.

    • Helen says:

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Connie. It’s great to have the encouragement from you and the others who have commented.

      Yes, it would be great to have more people actively promoting biodiversity. And reducing their own use of chemicals in the garden.

      My other neighbour has sprayed weed killer on the dandelions on my strip of ground right at the back of the back garden (we share the path there). Whether or not she is aware that she is technically breaking the law or not, I have no idea, and it is nigh impossible to dig the dandelions out there, as there is almost no soil, but naturally I am not best pleased about that either.

  7. streepie says:

    I would not be too pleased either if one of my neighbours starts spraying pesticides on my side of the path – and even if it is dandelions they want to get rid of!
    The town next door to us (in France) has decided to cut down on pesticides to combat weeds, and they are now doing the weed killing with a kind of blow-torch. This seems to work equally well as the application of pesticides.

  8. Gees….she might have a different view if she knew that without pollination we would eventually have no food. Keep up the good work 😉

  9. How sad. You seem to take such pleasure in your gardening, and are passionate about the environment. Why would someone want to take this away from you? I hope you can sort things out with your neighbour: if she did make a formal complaint I doubt she’d have a leg to stand on (I wanted to insert some sort of bee/sting pun here but couldn’t think of one?!) x

    • Helen says:

      Thank you, Kathryn. I don’t think she could make a formal complaint, as there is no legislation covering what flowers people can or cannot grow on their property, except for things like Japanese knotweed, which clearly phacelia is not. x

  10. Jackie says:

    Stick with it – your front garden is lovely

  11. I nearly spat out my G&T at this! Some people are unbelievable, and her comment about children is just bonkers!

    Keep calm and carry on tending! X

    • Helen says:

      Sorry you nearly lost your G&T 😉 ‘Unbelievable’ is the word!

      I can understand that people have differing views but there are something’s you just don’t say… Which is I guess why my neighbour did apologise.

      Enjoy the rest of your evening, MBAF 😊.

  12. Your garden is lovely and I’m happy to know that your neighbor has apologized.

  13. John says:

    In the latest edition of the British Beekeepers Association magazine is a letter from someone who was gathering up phacelia and developed a rash. So it’s worth taking care, though I’ve not heard of anyone else with this problem.

    • Helen says:

      Phacelia is prickly! I use gloves when I am touching because of this but perhaps the rash was an allergic reaction. Anyway, thanks for this information.

I love to read about your own experiences and any other feedback you have, so look forward to your comments below.

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