This post is from more than two years ago, when I last had a natural habitat garden.
My nature and temperament is more akin to those people who can stop and look at a dandelion, either the first of the year as this one is, or many in a flock later on in the season, and delight in its appearance, its beauty, its 'weedy' reputation and not immediately think of how to eradicate it.
Who do not, automatically, 'clean up' the garden in the autumn but watch it across the cold weather months, the shadows a low-lying sun makes against a wall, the attention given by creatures fur and feathered and human.
And a certain three-year-old who, each time he hops from stone to stone on the path, stops and lifts the 'goldfish' from its home in the birdbath and looks it over carefully, does not need to explain why he is doing this or what he is looking at.
Digging and planting and staking and thinning will, eventually, happen. In the midst of a great deal of strolling and sitting and gazing and snacking and thinking and chatting and knitting and reading .... in the garden.
This playing in the earth has been how I have always gardened and for many years I thought it was because I was lazy, or perhaps scattered rather than focused. But it made sense to me and gave me great contentment.
Then a man came along who was interested in the environment and what was being done with land in the city and how parks and schoolyards could be better utilized for nature - human and otherwise, and how awareness of what could be done was important .... And he saw our 'garden' and said, "Good lord, you are doing it."
Some publicity attracted like-minded individuals and Urban Wilderness Gardeners sprouted and grew. Its mandate was "providing alternatives to manicured lawns." Hill Cottage in the Beaches area of Toronto was the headquarters where the front yard vegetable garden, sun catcher flagstone patio, mini orchard, boardwalk, painted driveway, gazebo, wildflower meadow, became one of many viewable gardens as the concept spread. Kew Beach was the first school to create an urban wilderness garden. Workshops and a newsletter and lobbying for increased awareness of the effects of pesticides and herbicides and seeing how people responded ....
That was more than twenty years ago but the experience accompanies me now when I stop and look at a dandelion....
Here's another 'habitat chat'. (from June 2008 - garden in its spring glory)