A conversation with Tiffany Wallace @wildlittlewallace.
3 Min Read
The dictionary definition of a weed is a “wild (not deliberately cultivated) plant growing where it is not wanted”. For some there is no such thing as a weed.
Anyone who has ever let their garden run wild knows it doesn’t take long for nature to reassert itself in the absence of human intervention. Without such regular efforts, life finds a way and while an unmaintained garden may well once have been a cause for social shame, there’s a growing movement that embraces the messy and unkempt. The ‘shabby chic’ of horticulture embraces nature, and banishes the weed but in definition alone, letting the land ‘do its own thing’.
It’s called rewilding, and the aim is to leave a positive legacy for future generations by restoring the wider natural processes.
We met up with Norfolk-based conservationist and founder of Nature’s Neighbours, Tiffany Wallace, at one of her small scale rewilding sites at the King’s Head in Hethersett near Norwich, to learn more about the process.
‘We’re part of the Wild East movement to rewild East Anglia.’
A local community project, Nature’s Neighbours was founded to work with public and private spaces which have dedicated land to rewilding.
“We’re part of the Wild East movement to rewild East Anglia”, explains Tiffany.
“We’re in one of the small scale rewilding sites right now in the King’s Head in Hethersett so it’s garden rewilding essentially. The local community came here during lockdown and started building projects, such as the bird houses and ponds.”
“The aim is to create different areas of habitat for wildlife to increase biodiversity because we are currently in an ecological and climate crisis, but, as a community project, it also serves a function for people’s enjoyment and sense of purpose , and we use it for educational purposes too.”
“We all work together to create different areas of habitat for wildlife, biodiversity and people’s enjoyment as well, so that when they come to the pub, they can see more wildlife!”
Community and collaboration is essential to Nature’s Neighbours and the project has been embraced by the locals. “We’re all working together on a small scale and to expand that as we go… We all work together to create different areas of habitat for wildlife, biodiversity and people’s enjoyment as well, so that when they come to the pub, they can see more wildlife!”
Offering tips for how people can contribute to their efforts, Tiffany suggests that people need to reconsider their approach to garden maintenance. “We want to move away from the idea of aesthetics and think more about creating opportunities for wildlife. We’ve got to think about how we’re part of a wider system – your garden is a hot spot, it’s a potential source for wildlife. Think about the fact that there are other gardens near us, create corridors for wildlife to travel through, allow plants to complete their full cycle – a lot of people will see plants look older and they think they want to dead head them but actually that’s creating another habitat or a source of food or water for wildlife.”
To find out more about rewilding you can visit www.wildeast.co.uk
Tiffany’s Top 5 rewilding tips: