Guest post: On earth nature will work hard

Originally a comment by KB Player on You have to get water there.

All the effort to make something which on earth nature does it by itself even on unpromising sites.

This morning I walked past a piece of “waste” ground, a slab of concrete about two feet from the ground, about 100 yards long and 10 yards wide. It was put in as part of the tram works, probably around 10 years ago.

It is now covered with buddleia, which attracts insects in the summer. There’s a cotoneaster with berries. Soil is building up from the leaves that have fallen and rotted. I did a little guerrilla gardening the year before last and planted some daffodil bulbs, and in some places the soil was deep enough to sustain them so they flowered. Buddleia is a terrific coloniser – one colonised a gutter on my house, so the roots grew up a down pipe and clogged it with soil.

Orange-eye Butterfly-bush (Buddleja davidii)

A book I read recently, Islands of Abandonment, which I thoroughly recommend, goes to different places like slag heaps, or the area around Chernobyl, or abandoned war zones, and tells of how they can regenerate. On earth nature will work hard to keep growing. Trying to make it work on somewhere which hasn’t had the millions of years to provide that kind of ecosphere sounds like the worst waste of time and money. Is it from a kind of Year Zero mind set – that having made a mess we can start afresh somewhere – with the same disasters as other Year Zeros, as in Cambodia.

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