Gardening on the wild side
Behind Kruparna, A Rocha Czech Republic’s environmental centre, is two hectares of wild garden – a haven for wildlife and an outdoor classroom. This past summer, it officially joined the Natural Garden Association (Přírodní Zahrada), part of a growing European movement to encourage nature-friendly gardens.
The certification scheme rewards nature-friendly gardens with varied ecosystems and a focus on supporting wildlife and educating the public. Certain criteria must be met, such as banning artificial fertilizers and pesticides, encouraging species diversity, incorporating vegetable beds and herbs, mulching, offering a place of rest and education opportunities, and so on.
On their visit, the two evaluators were delighted to see almost every criteria already in place: for example, appropriate shelters have been created for a variety of creatures within diverse habitats – six ponds for water-loving creatures, two insect hotels, a dry stone wall area for snakes, and a ‘Kingfisher hotel’, complete with inviting burrows and perches. There is even a composting area fronted with plexiglass to allow viewers to see earthworms at work, and two bird hides from which wildlife can be observed without disturbance. The one suggested improvement is underway: attaching rainwater barrels to the centre’s gutters.
The team is proud of their garden and believe that ‘natural gardening’ holds increasing importance for sustainable access to nature, farming and healthy lifestyles. They offer it as a haven of peace in which people, animals and plants thrive together in harmony.