Calm sanctuary provides fresh food for everyone - including the wildlife

Torbay Weekly

When not being bowed by the breeze, the grass stands taller than the average person’s hips, its stems dulled to a pale brown and holding seed heads ready to disperse their neatly packed blueprints for life.

Parts of the site may look more like a hay meadow waiting to be cut and baled; yet this is not the garden of a neglected house, it has been left to grow wild by design.

Despite the slightly overgrown paths, the fruit trees rising out of a sea of tall, waving grass and brambles lazily climbing over each other to form mini hillocks, there is abundance here.

Apples are swelling on the trees, blackberries are darkening from red to black, and pots of sprawling herbs release their fragrance on the warm air.

Importantly, the garden not only provides fresh produce for those who volunteer here, it also provides food for wildlife.

Fat bumble bees lazily buzz from delicate mint flowers to the blue stars of borage plants, hunting spiders stalk their prey amongst the tall grass, and cinnabar moth caterpillars busy themselves with munching ragwort, their orange and black stripes a warning to predators that they provide a taste of the plant’s toxicity.

While the ‘unkempt’ appearance of Cricketfield Community Garden may not be to the more fastidious gardener’s taste, this is a calm sanctuary where there is space to grow food for humans and wildlife.

It is easy to overlook the wildlife value of an area of garden left to its own devices.

Sometimes we focus so much on what we should plant, include, construct, or add to our gardens, that we forget that there is as much worth in what we don’t do as what we do do.

Leaving patches slightly wild by tolerating a few nettles, brambles, or ivy, or reducing the amount we mow grass or cut hedges or shrubs, can all allow space for nature to just get on with the business of living.

To find out more about Torbay’s Green Spaces and to get involved in caring for them please contact Hannah Worthington on 07940510616 or email