Conservation, Current Issues, Events, Scott, Sustainable Living, Wildlife

What is Earth Day?

Climate Activism

Earth Day is an annual series of demonstrations and events that push engagement with issues surrounding the environment on a global scale. This year’s events focus on climate action. In a year where we’ve been inspired by individuals like Greta Thunberg and groups like Extinction Rebellion its time to put plans into action and halt the growing crisis.

When is Earth Day?

Earth Day takes place every year on April 22nd.  

Important Dates

April 22nd 1970 marked the first Earth Day. It acted as a voice for growing environmental concern in a world that was beginning to consume more and more. The Paris Agreement was signed on Earth Day 2016; this is perhaps the most important declaration for change that has occurred for the environment. Nations have pledged to hit strict targets for lowering carbon emissions, protecting ecosystems, investing in green businesses and a whole host of other topics. 

Green Energy - Off Shore WInd farm

Why is 2020 so important?

Earth Day 20202020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth day. Since 1970, the event has grown to include millions of people across thousands of organisations. That’s people and nations all over the world who have pledged to do their part and take action. In a year that’s already seen the damage created by extreme weather the time for action has never been clearer.

How can I get involved?

There are many things you can do as an individual to help celebrate Earth Day 2020. Below are just a few ways you can engage with the day this year:

  1. Research the history of Earth Day and the many achievements they’ve helped bring about. Spread the word about the day and its importance in the world today.
  2. Charities all over the world are dedicated to tackling the issues that Earth Day engages with. Supporting these charities with your time or your money is a great way to ensure their work continues.
  3. If change is going to come about it has to come from the organisations and business that affect are day-to-day lives and the best way to bring this about is with individuals holding business to account. Contact the businesses you regularly engage with and question their green credentials; let them know that you take their effects on the environment seriously.
  4. World wide change can start in your own back garden. Local wildlife is essential for healthier ecosystems. You can set up habitats and feeding stations or plant a wildflower meadow to help your local environment out; a small action that if done collectively can make a difference nationwide! 

Wildflower Meadow

Scott at PrimroseScott Roberts is a copywriter currently making content for the Primrose site and blog. When at his desk he’s thinking of new ways to describe a garden bench. Away from his desk he’s either looking at photos of dogs or worrying about the environment. He does nothing else, just those two things.

See all of Scott’s posts.

 

Decoration, How To, Indoor Plants, Plants, Sustainable Living

The Importance of Air-Purifying House Plants

We may live in a world that considers itself pioneering in terms of health and wellbeing, however, an increasingly popular tool in ensuring good health has surprisingly been present for over 3,000 years. This consists of the house plant; commonly recognised as a plant that will  successfully flourish indoors- particularly in homes and offices. 

Initially adopted by Chinese cultures to pursue gardening interests when the weather became overly harsh, and often used to signify wealth, house plants have been appreciated by humans for thousands of years. Whilst some individuals quite understandably commend house plants for their historical significance,  we have become increasingly conscious of their health benefits. Namely, these are their ability to improve breathing, mitigate the risks of illness, reduce anxiety and blood pressure, enhance productivity, and perhaps most impressively, purify the air within our homes. 

Throughout this post, we will specifically detail how a house plant purifies the air, we will also suggest our favourite ones for doing so, and answer any common questions that you might have. 

A Plant’s Air-Purifying Abilities

The Importance of Air-Purifying House Plants

A house plant will clean the air within your home by absorbing harmful gases through both their leaves and roots. Their soil will additionally neutralise volatile organic compounds (these include the common household pollutants of benzene and formaldehyde). It is these purifying abilities that are utilised most profoundly in phytoremediation; a process where plants will remove, contain, or destroy environmental contaminants. This process isn’t merely applicable to air, but additionally to polluted water and soil.

Both benzene and formaldehyde are volatile organic compounds that are prevalent within the home. Benzene can be found in certain plastics, pesticides and cigarette smoke, and formaldehyde can be present within cosmetics and various cleaning products. To help ensure a safe and healthy environment for you and your loved ones, we have detailed three house plants deemed excellent in removing these harmful pollutants from the air. 

Air-Purifying House Plants: Our Three Favourites

The Importance of Air-Purifying House Plants

Peace Lily: The perfect means of adding a simplistic, graceful touch to your home, a Peace Lily is an esteemed air purifier. Also referred to as Spathiphyllums, Peace Lilies will successfully remove carbon monoxide, benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and xylene. 

The Importance of Air-Purifying House Plants

 Spider Plant: Valued for removing both formaldehyde and benzene from the air around us, a Spider Plant will also prove a low-maintenance option for your home. Importantly, it has been evidenced by NASA that a Spider Plant can remove approximately 90% of formaldehyde nearby. If you wish to order one of these wonderful Spider Plants, they can be found here

The Importance of Air-Purifying House Plants

Boston Fern: Displaying charmingly disheveled foliage, a Boston Fern is another wonderful house plant for reducing the pollutants within your home. To ensure that your fern flourishes, we encourage you to keep it away from direct sunlight, and to water frequently. 

Commonly Asked Questions

My home doesn’t experience much light, is there still an air-purifying house plant for me?

There certainly exists a perfect air-purifying house plant for every home and environment. We advise that the most suitable house plants for areas experiencing low-light are Devil’s Ivy, Maidenhair Ferns, Leopard Lilies, and Lucky Bamboos.

I have a cat and a dog, can I still have an air-purifying house plant in my home?

Again, both the Spider Plant and Boston Fern consist of air-purifying house plants believed harmless for cats and dogs (other animal-friendly house plants are Orchids and Peperomias). Nevertheless, to prevent your beloved pets from chewing or playing with your plants, we advise you to place them in windows, or towards the top of a shelf. 

What is the best air-purifying house plant for the bedroom?

The addition of a house plant within your bedroom is an excellent way to create a peaceful, yet also lively sanctuary. A rubber plant is great for adding interest and structure to an emptier room, whilst a ‘Million Flowers’ Anthurium will add a colourful touch to your bedroom’s window sill.

Gardening, Gardening Year, Grow Your Own, Planting, Plants, Scott, Sustainable Living, Vegetables

For a beautiful garden come spring and summer, preparation is key. Frost and snow may not make your garden the most welcome of places but the promise of Spring and the return of warmer days gives you plenty to be doing. This is also a time of year where our wildlife relies most heavily on the food we supply as natural reserves would have run dry by now so you should give all the help you can t see your local wildlife thrive. Read below for some key February garden jobs.   

february garden birds

General

Check garden equipment – this is a prime opportunity to check over your garden equipment. Does any of it need fixing or replacing? Every gardener should have at least a good quality spade and a few handheld tools such as a trowel to tackle various projects.

Feed wildlife – this time of year, at the very end of winter, natural food sources will be at there most depleted. This is a difficult time for many birds and mammals so putting food out can really help wildlife through to spring

Apply organic fertilisers – a slow release of nutrients is perfect for moving between winter and the warmer days to come. Applying a good quality organic fertiliser around plants in February will help retain moisture and add nutrition for better growth come spring.

Plants

dahlias

Plant bare-root – the dormant season of trees runs from around November to march so bare roots can be planted at any point in this period. Bear in mind that the further into this period you plant the less time the plant has to develop strong roots before its efforts go into the growth above the soil. 

Prune overgrown hedges – Now is an excellent time to heavily prune your overgrown hedges. This will keep them healthy and help maintain a more pleasing shape.   

Plant Dahlia tubers – Dahlias bring some excitement to February gardening with their beautiful variety. Start planting Dahlias that can provide good cuttings to be potted up come summer. Place them in a tray of soil in good light and spray occasionally with water to encourage the buds to grow.  

Snowdrops – a quintessential symbol of springs arrival, snowdrops can be planted now to bloom in their beautiful white bells in early spring

snowdrops

Produce

Plant shallots – the perfect time to plant shallots in preparation for spring and summer. Plant in rows with plenty of organic fertilizer. 

Sow peaspeas can be sown in a piece of plastic guttering with drainage holes drilled into the base. Keeping them warm will assist germination. Once they begin to sprout they can be transferred to a trench in your garden and covered with a cloche for protection from frost. 

Mulch fruit trees – this is a great way to prevent weeds from sprouting around your trees and also to retain moisture in the roots of the tree. This will help cut down the amount of watering you’ll need to give the tree come summer.  

Greenhouse

Heat your greenhouse – there’s still plenty of time for frost and snow so a keyFebruary gardening job would be to keep your greenhouse heated with an electric or gas heater will help maintain a steady temperature.

Start a citrus tree – with a greenhouse heater providing the warmth you could start your own lemon tree. Cut open a lemon and remove the seeds, plant several of these in a pot about a 1cm deep, place in a warm spot and water well. Once seedlings begin to emerge pot them up and keep them warm. 

Grow peppers – you can also take advantage of the steady warm temperature in a greenhouse to grow your own peppers. These can be transplanted outside when warm weather returns or kept inside the greenhouse.

Animals

february garden

Feed birds – this is a difficult time of year for birds when natural sources fo food are depleted. Help out the birds in your garden by providing a variety of foods or putting out food that’s specific to the diet for the birds you see. 

Food for squirrels – squirrels will be having their first litters of kits. Parents will need more food to help sustain them as they wean their babies until 6 weeks when the baby can move onto solid foods.  

Prep for a wildflower meadow – now is a great time to prepare your soil for some wildflower planting. Break down large clumps of soil, rake over and cover with mulch.  

Install a pond – a garden pond is one of the best ways to help garden wildlife and now is an excellent time to start a pond. You may get the years first frog spawn and you can support toads coming out of hibernation. 

 

Scott at PrimroseScott is a copywriter currently making content for the Primrose site and blog. When at his desk he’s thinking of new ways to describe a garden bench. Away from his desk he’s either looking at photos of dogs or worrying about the environment. He does nothing else, just those two things.

See all of Scott’s posts.

Conservation, Current Issues, Organic, Scott, Sustainable Living

world soil dayWe’re experiencing a climate emergency. This message has finally found a voice in society and awareness of the issues facing our planet are beginning to be discussed with the attention they deserve. One of the most pressing but unreported of these is the condition of the Earth’s soil. You’ll know how important soil is to the health of your garden; the same is true for our nations soil and the soil of our planet. The 5th of December marks World Soil Day, an international project started by the United Nations to promote awareness and action over soil erosion. 

So what is soil erosion?

world soil day

When we think of the climate emergency we may think of large blocks of ice falling into the sea or freak weather showing on the news but soil erosion is an issue that is just as catastrophic whilst remaining widely unknown. Soil erosion is a wearing down of the most fertile layer of soil. This is the layer of soil that contains all the best nutrients and organic matter that’s suited for growing everything from forests to garden plants and vital crops. 

Isn’t soil erosion natural?

world soil day

Soil erosion is a natural process but it’s normally a slow one. As is so often the case in these stories, it’s the actions of humanity that have accelerated the issue to near breaking point. Intense farming, singular crop use, deforestation and expansive building of disruptive infrastructure are all things that have caused this process to accelerate. Dealing with the natural causes involved a shift in the way farms operate, due to human action, these shifts in behaviour need to happen on a global scale to help mitigate the damage.

How serious is the problem?

Time is running out to make such changes with the UN claiming we have less than 60 years before the planet runs out of fertile topsoil; a disaster considering this is where 95% of the world’s food is grown. Soil erosion is a silent symptom of the climate emergency but it can make its effects known via food shortages, lack of crop diversity, higher carbon levels in the atmosphere and accelerated climate catastrophe…  

What’s being done?

Word is beginning to spread and actions are being taken. The formation of Groundswell in 2015, the UK’s leading agricultural conservation event, is a sign of farmers recognising the problem and vowing to make a change in how they work that will benefit everyone. 

There are lots of practices that farms can introduce to regenerate their soil. Dropping the use of chemicals such as pesticides and insecticides, turning away from tilling machinery, planting more diverse crops and changing grazing practises can ALL contribute to healthier soil. The end result can be more nutrient-rich, varied and organic produce for us as consumers, farms that are more likely to stand the test of time and a healthier planet.  

organic produce

What can I do to help?

The best thing you can do to support the soil crisis is to be informed. Arm yourself with the know-how of what’s going on with our world’s soil and spread the word! This basic step will help you make more informed choices about where your food comes but also lend you a voice when it comes to communicating these ideas to those with the power to change them and stop bad practices causing soil erosion.  

soil

See our quick list below for ideas on how you can celebrate:

  1. Get out in the garden and test your own soil.
  2. Get a local school involved with a soil health workshop.
  3. Shop your local area for organic farms to try and locate fresh produce.
  4. Plan a sponsored run or walk to raise awareness of soil erosion and wider climate issues.
  5. Share this blog post and spread the word!

For more information on World Soil Day see this handy infographic from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations: Click here 

 

Scott at Primrose

Scott Roberts is a copywriter currently making content for the Primrose site and blog. When at his desk he’s thinking of new ways to describe a garden bench. Away from his desk he’s either looking at photos of dogs or worrying about the environment. He does nothing else, just those two things.

See all of Scott’s posts.