Introducing environmental values to your lifestyle is something that is becoming near-essential in the modern age. With eco-friendly homewares and low-energy appliances dominating the interior of the home, what can homeowners do in their gardens to remain eco-conscious?
Turns out, there are plenty of ways green-thumbed folks can attune their garden to the environment, and this post will run through some product swaps that can be done easily and without much impact on your garden’s bloom.
Feed your plants sustainably
The first consideration you should make in terms of keeping your garden eco-friendly is your plants’ diet. While some big brand fertilisers and plant foods may promise incredible growth in your plants, they tend to be based on chemicals which are bad for the environment.
Chemicals used in these fertilisers include nitrates and urea, which may improve your garden’s bloom in the short term, but long-term use of these products can contaminate the local area’s groundwater. Nitrogen pollution in groundwater is known to cause illnesses amongst humans and animals, as well as affecting water-borne life by creating an influx of plant life that deoxygenates ponds and lakes. When writ large across our rural areas, this is both a public health risk and an environmental hazard.
While this problem is largely down to industrial farming methods, doing the right thing in your garden by opting for organic fertilisers such as compost or manure will have a positive impact – however small it may be.
Avoid needless plastic
Both an aesthetic and environmentally practical choice, swapping out plastic pots for hard-wearing ceramic or terracotta will make your garden look far more stylish – all while reducing your reliance on an unnatural material. Once you’ve finished with your plastic pots, seek out ways to recycle or upcycle them into something new – don’t just opt for the landfill!
Just remember to replant your potted plants at the earliest possible opportunity, before they’ve put down firm roots, in order to make this as easy as possible.
Use renewable lighting
Picture the scene. It’s late summer, the nights are creeping in earlier and you need a bit of light in your garden. There might be a temptation to invest in conventionally-powered lighting, but this can negatively impact on your energy bills and electricity usage.
Solar-powered outdoor lights, on the other hand, require no mains wiring or batteries and slowly charge throughout the day – giving you pretty festival-style evening lighting. This alternative will effortlessly provide a gorgeous background to the later stages of your summer soirées.
You may have heard of the crisis facing the world’s bee population. These prolific pollinators face a range of threats, from insecticides that harm their sense of navigation to the increase in colony collapse disorder – whereupon the worker bees abscond from the hive, leaving the queen to die.
A family of chemicals called neonicotinoids contribute to this global problem and are present in several commercial insecticides. Avoiding these and instead opting for natural alternatives (such as garlic or chilli sprays), all while planting plenty of pollen-rich, bee-friendly flowers in your garden, means you can do your part to allay the advance of this crisis.
Swap the supermarket for the garden
Growing your own doesn’t require an allotment, nor does it necessitate giving over your lawn to row upon row of crops. A small section of your garden can produce vegetables galore, and the only outlay that’s required is the purchase of seeds and a few home-grow essentials.
Soon, your natural harvest will come in, and you’ll be decreasingly reliant on the carbon-heavy supermarket supply chains – all while basking in the satisfaction of eating ingredients you grew yourself.
An eco-friendly garden is a healthy garden, so we hope this post has proven that you needn’t sacrifice the lush greenery of your outside space by attuning it to the environment.
Paul Richards is a long-time botanist and founder of Herbfarmacy – an online retailer selling organic, natural skin care products for all skin types that are packed with herbs grown on their farm in Herefordshire.