Changing the world garden by garden

Many people feel overwhelmed by the current news situation – how can they ‘save the world’ or ‘change the planet’.  But anyone with a garden can make a difference by making small, simple changes to the way they manage their bit of ‘planet earth’.

Three very simple steps can be taken to look after the planet by looking after your garden:

Firstly, stop poisoning the soil and wildlife with chemicals – stopping or dramatically reducing the use of herbicides and pesticides in your garden can make an enormous contribution to planetary health. 

Secondly, recycle by making your own compost - this not only reduces landfill but also gives back valuable nutrients and structure to the soil.

Lastly, provide food and habitat for the natural world in your garden. This can be as simple as providing lots of varied plants in your garden - especially native trees which are fabulous homes for insect life and flowering shrubs/perennials for pollinators. For example, a simple climbing plant like ivy provides valuable habitat for birds, like house sparrows, to nest in whilst also providing flowers for pollinators, like bees, at a time when very little else is flowering. It is a fabulous garden plant for wildlife, if left to mature.

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The garden/life balance

The garden/life balance - getting it right ......

As a working mother, garden designer and business manager for my husband's business my free time is very limited. So now my dream garden runs me ragged - the hedging, the pruning, the mowing and the wholesale weeding. Don't get me wrong I love my garden, but I think the wildlife have taken over at times (well most of the time)  - the moles, the voles, the mice, the rats, the hornets, the bugs, the slugs and the ticks!  

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Watering the garden

However, I find myself thinking - did I put in the wrong plants? Based on our usual weather pattern, we have quite a heavy rainfall living in the New Forest - normally plants die from water logging in our heavy clay soil. Plants were selected to love the damp and the clay - not the heat and the drought. So it's not poor planting just unusual weather! If there is a hose pipe ban next step for me is pumping the water from our old well.

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Free gifts ...

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Self set flowers in the garden are like free gifts - my garden here in the New Forest has been beset with self set Aquilegia vulgaris (grannies bonnets) in a mixture of dark pastel colours - free gifts from Mother Nature. Now they are all setting seed and I am planning to spread the joy, collecting the seed heads, leaving them to dry in the greenhouse and popping them in envelopes for customers and friends. 

Free gifts and free plants makes us happy giving the garden a naturalistic feel. Other marvellous self set plants here are Buddleia, Erigeron and Valerian. Spread the joy of your garden - share seeds and small plants with family and friends  - say it with flowers - free flowers! 

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Aquilegia seed heads - waiting for the sun to dry them out ready for seed collection.....

It's hot

Don't forget to water  - especially new plants, the greenhouse and anything in a pot. 

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If your garden is looking wild and unkempt one of the simplest things to do is mow the lawn regularly. It has an instant impact on how your garden looks, the smell is fabulous and you will feel great to achieve such an instant result for such relatively little effort. 

 

If you have a large garden and are short of time, why not leave areas further from the house unmown this provides superb food and shelter for wildlife and if you're lucky you will find wildflowers like orchids in your unmown turf. (Once flowering has finished leave the wildflowers to set and drop seed then the whole area could be strimmed and mown.)