You don’t hear it all that often, but did you know that messy actually is something to aim for? Maybe not in your kids rooms or your laundry, of course. But messy truly is desirable when it comes to land for our native wildlife.
Not long after we bought our property, we enthusiastically registered it as a Land for Wildlife property, pledging to manage part of the land as native wildlife habitat. Most of their core values felt natural to us - help restore nature, protect old trees, connect vegetation and control weeds...all seemingly obvious.
But then it comes to the last of the core values...keep it messy. Coming from the city, we were so accustomed to manicured lawns, neat borders, artistically arranged garden beds with ordered lines of plants and flowers. Indeed, most parts of the contemporary world demand symmetry, order, neatness. Clean lines, artistic placements, tidy and user friendly, a large percentage of us like to treat the outdoors like our indoor spaces.
This is the problem.
Tidy and neat is not what our wildlife needs to thrive. They don’t want our sweeping brushes and clippers and lawn mowers. Sure, some learn to adapt to fit in with human civilisation, but others are a bit more particular. They want old, rotting logs, hollowed out dead trees, fallen debris, leaf piles, long grass, overgrown bushes, trees of all shapes with branches at all angles. These things might not fit with our constructed idea of order and attractiveness, but they are exactly what our wildlife need.
What we have found over our time here is there is beauty in the ‘wild’, in the perfection of nature’s own. Once you see habitats, rather than mess, food sources, rather than overgrown bush, it becomes obvious that natural is best. And not only is it best, there is such wonderful loveliness in mess. When you have seen a tiny squirrel glider climb an old tree, it changes the way you see the tree. We have to remember that nature really knows what it is doing, if we can just stop interfering. Let’s look through a different lens and see the true beauty in ‘wild’.