They are quite easy to recognize. When the observer stands in front of a garden fence and looks in the direction of the house. In between, where one reckons with green, brown and colorful is almost everything: gray. At this moment the observer knows that he is facing a gravel garden and thus not only for nature conservationists home-made problems. The sealed, dark soil heats up, does not drain water, even accumulates it. For insects, birds and other garden inhabitants it is dead land.
Stone garden is not a gravel garden
So many arguments speak against the gravel garden, which cannot be compared with a traditional stone, gravel or, for example, japanese "zen garden" may be confused. There are cultivated ecologically valuable plants on barren soil. What is the advantage of the extreme – but the freedom of design in the garden?? Does this freedom exist at all?
In baden-wurttemberg recently no longer, it says in some media reports. But that is not quite right. In fact, that has the facebook page "garden of horror" already on 30. October 2018 published, there are laws against gravel garden in bavaria, baden-wurttemberg, thuringia and – in fact – 13 other federal states, all of them.
Had one read nevertheless only more exactly. Or is it because of the implementation failed? The gerollwusten in german cities, but also in the countryside, which pretend to be gardens, but seem rather hostile to nature, have long been banned – also in bavaria. Only the enforcement of the law has been lacking so far.
Article 7 of the bavarian building code states that such uncovered parts of the site – i.E. Gardens – "must be left or made water-absorbent and must be grassed over or planted" are "as far as the requirements of another permissible use of the flat do not stand in the way"."
If a development plan or other statutes do not contradict the first part of the article… So is the development plan the reason why gravel gardens exist??
For those in favor of a ban, the answer from the bavarian state ministry of housing, construction and transport sounds bizarre: the addition to article 7 means that there is no statewide ban on rock gardens in this respect either, according to the construction ministry. "The control is a task of the lower building supervision authority, thus the responsible landratsamter, likewise the questions, to which extent this is locally noticed." this is also understandable, it continues, because the rules can be different in each county due to the exceptions.
A law that stands in its own way. In baden-wurttemberg, the government wants to take a clear stand against gravel gardens with the new draft law.
The bavarian state parliament is now tackling the problem, answers the construction ministry to another inquiry from the FT. The bavarian building code will be refreshed and "cities and municipalities (…) get the opportunity to prevent the creation of so-called rock gardens for reasons of local design." more or less as it is now. "A national ban is not planned."
Is it up to education?
If you ask beate singhartinger, you get a third opinion. The district advisor for garden culture and land conservation in the district of kronach argues: "a ban only makes sense if someone is there and has time to check it out." they hold more of convincing garden owners that gravel gardens are not a good choice. It pays off: no diversity of habitats and species. Bad for the microclimate. Long term high maintenance. Production and demolition costs. At the end a decisive sentence: "in itself it is absurd that fertile soil is artificially made infertile."
But where does this absurdity come from in modern gardens and gardening?? She speaks of the mediation, which is the task of families, schools, but also of the municipalities. Some teach to love nature, others should set a good example in the public space. The gravel garden, she sums up, is the result of an alienation from nature. That’s why the district association for horticulture has also launched the nature garden certification.
The other way has been shown by the cities of wurzburg and erlangen: a clear prohibition. Also the landesbund fur vogelschutz demands the municipal solution with the grunordnungsplan. This should be added to every development plan and prohibit gray garden shrubs.
Gardening close to nature: these are the tips from the ecological education center in mitwitz
Habitat diversity stones, mature wood, shrubbery clippings and foliage provide niches for many creatures. Further are dry stone walls, stone and wood piles, sand corners, pond, sun and shade areas.
Wild corner garden areas that are not maintained are important refuges for wild plants and animals.
Wild weeds some weeds are actually medicinal weeds. Plants that come by themselves attract beneficial insects. Prime examples: coneflower, wild mallow or wild carder.
Meadow in contrast to a lawn, a meadow is mowed much less often, the first time at the end of june and the cuttings are not mulched, but removed from the surface.
Woody deciduous trees provide shade in summer and let the light through in winter. In autumn, the foliage provides protection for animals, as well as for the soil from intense sunlight and erosion. The natural garden includes a hedge of native shrubs.
Insect perennials and flowers, especially those with unfilled flowers, are a rich source of nectar for bees and butterflies.
Crops of fruit, vegetables and herbs contribute to the health and nourishment of the people. If you grow a lot yourself, you can leave intensively treated products from the supermarket alone.
Compost cuttings, mulch, weeded wild herbs, mousse waste are returned to the garden as compost or mulch.
Vegetable garden plant health and living soil can be demanded by mixed culture, crop rotation, grounding and mulching.
Useful shelters insects, birds, crocodiles, shrews, hedgehogs and other animals need shelters. These can be piles of shrub cuttings, scrap wood or stones.
Watering the right plants hardly need watering. For especially thirsty plants in the flowerbed, rainwater is collected in barrels or cisterns.
Choice of materials for fences, paths, terraces, borders and walls should use regional stones and woods. To prevent creeping insects from entering the garden, you can do without wall bases and make sure that fences do not reach all the way to the ground.
Plant protection chemical plant protection is taboo in the natural garden. The plant must fit the place. But there are means to challenge the plant health and defense forces. A self-prepared nettle liquid manure is a miraculous remedy.