Just Doing It!
We may be daunted by the ever more dire warnings about the damage we have caused to our environment, global warming, decline of wildlife etc and it can seem beyond us as individuals to do anything to remedy the situation. We may admire people such as Jadav Payeng who over thirty years turned a sandbar on the River Brahmaputra into a forest extending to 1,360 acres in order to restore and preserve wildlife or Haidar el Ali, previously Senegal’s Minister of Environment, who led a project to plant 152 million mangrove plants in the Casamance Delta of southern Senegal to help cope with climate change and to help the local economy. We may read of such heroic projects and admire them greatly but, truth be told, be daunted at the very thought of undertaking any project ourselves, no matter how small.
It is good then to read of a project of a more domestic and local nature for it tells us that the individual – you and I – can make a difference and that just getting on with it and simply doing it is the only way to succeed. Knowledge can be gathered as you go; learning takes place as you act; inertia and inaction are the only obstacles to success. Just do it!
Yvette Verner wanted to do something for the environment, to make a contribution, to make a difference – a “think globally, act locally” kind of thing. She began in her tiny garden, allowing the lawn to simply go wild by putting away the lawnmower and allowing nature to do its thing – and it did so to her delight and she was thrilled with the wildflowers which appeared. This success and the happiness it brought to her and the fact that she, not an expert, not a scientist, just someone who loved the idea of having a patch of meadow, had managed to succeed in her own little handkerchief-sized garden, moved her to seek a small plot of ground for a larger project – her very own meadow!
This book is the story of that project, the story of an absolute beginner on a journey of great fun, lots of work, great discoveries and a fabulous sense of achievement and satisfaction. This is a book of encouragement!
Although not a “Meadows for Dummies” the narrative gives valuable information and insights which would be a great help to anybody considering undertaking a similar project. There are chapters dealing with soil, trees, hedges and fencing, furniture, wildflowers and the annual maintenance routine along with a listing of wildflowers, birds and animals observed in the meadow and, finally, month by month notes – a Meadow Calendar.
A very pleasant and enjoyable read, enthusiastic and encouraging.
[We Made a Wildflower Meadow, Yvette Verner, Green Books, Cambridge, 2019 – first published in 1998 – Paperback, 136 pages, £12.99, ISBN: 9780857845245]