I'm starting to like the contrast between my garden and the untended space that surrounds it all. I didn't at first.
We are encircled by an open area that was disturbed earth left from the construction crews. It's not a meadow in any pleasing sense, it's just weeds, including swaths of poison ivy and invasive scourges.
But it also has grasses and Queen Anne's Lace and oxeye daisies that are nice even if they are everywhere. It has milkweed and butterflies and lightning bugs and all kinds of birds and animals (including a vast population of voles and ticks).
The wildlife was always wonderful out there in the weedy mess. I just didn't like the look of my gardens surrounded by weeds, most of them robustly taller than anything I was growing, making my gardening attempts look so pathetic.
But then two things happened.
The second thing that happened was that Jim mowed winding paths through the weeds this year. It has made all the difference. I had not realized how forbidding the weedy meadow was --- you could only look at the mass of it, but you could not go out into it. The weeds were too tall and thick to walk into.
The paths now tie the meadow area to my gardens by introducing the smallest bit of cultivation. It's still a grassy, weedy area, but there is a sense of control, a sense that you can go from the garden into the meadow and back. It looks intentional. It looks interesting, like you'd want to go out there.
And I do wander the paths to see what is happening out there close up.
This year the milkweeds are prolific. There are big stands of them all over the meadow.
I have noticed the deer use the paths. The tall weeds never stopped them from foraging in my yard before, but now I see they are careful to use the mowed avenues. Even when I am chasing them, wildly flapping my arms and yelling obscenities, they bound away down the mowed lanes, making sharp leaps at the corners where Jim has cut intersections.
I may need to put some signs up* along the paths in the weeds to direct them more efficiently. Now that there is structure and coherence in the meadow, there should be some order out there.
* (Deer can read. I know that from the fact that they read the nursery tags on newly planted things, and select the most expensive and rarest items.)