Have you thought about whether your garden is eco-friendly?
There is an increasing trend at the Chelsea Flower Show for gardens to be sustainable, and capable of being transferred and used after the show. More thought is being given to water availability and usage, and drought tolerant plants feature heavily. Gardens that are attractive to wildlife are also more sought-after.
So have a look at your garden:
Is it attractive to wildlife, to the birds and the bees?
Have you areas in the garden where creatures can hide or nest? A pile of logs or a thick hedge can provide cover or nesting site for a variety of wildlife and there are many ‘Bug Hotels’ for the garden on the market or you can make your own out of hollow stems.
One can plant native species and leave seed-heads and berries on plants over winter for the birds. Shrubs such as Pyracantha, Viburnum opulus and Skimmia have berries that birds love and they also like crab apple trees, hawthorn and honeysuckle.
Find alternative organic ways of controlling the pests – using Vaseline or egg shells to protect your Hostas and plants in pots rather than toxic slug pellets, and using a spray of washing up liquid rather than pesticides where possible.
Perennials with broad flower heads encourage the bees – and they love thistles like Echinopsritro and Cirsium rivulare. Shrubs such as Buddlei and Lonicera provide a good source of nectar for the butterflies and moths.
A water feature, however simple, will benefit the wildlife, and look attractive.
Making your own organic mulch out of your green waste is difficult in London, where space in the garden is at a premium, but many local refuse centres now have available mulch that they have made for you to bag and take home. Mulching cuts down on water evaporation from the soil and deters weeds, as well as feeding the plants.
Collecting rain water to use in dry periods also helps reduce the need for the hose, and the greener landscaping in your garden as opposed to hard solid impervious materials, the more eco-friendly your garden will be.
Anne Fraser and Caroline Streets
Planting Gems – www.plantinggems.co.uk
07729 835988 and 07930 876348