We all love spending time tending our gardens at this time of year. Our gardens bring such pleasure and can be such an asset to a home...why not be as green as we can be too!
Bees are very important for pollination so attracting them to our gardens is a good thing. Research shows that thirty-nine commercial crop species are reliant on bees; not to mention other species that are stimulated by the biodiversity of bees working nearby. Bees particularly like wild roses, lavender, foxgloves, hollyhocks, clematis and hydrangeas. Planting fruit, vegetables and herbs also attracts foraging honey bees looking for a food source. Lots of green alkanet has blown into my garden and I’ve decided not to pull it out as there are always bees on it! Even if you don’t have a garden, flowers in tubs or window boxes can still attract bees, particularly if you work with your neighbours to create a green corridor.
Watering and ground cover
Even with great British weather means you’re bound to be watering the garden at some point! Use “grey water” (old bathwater, old washing up water) to reduce the need for water processing and think too about installing water butts and hoses that feed off the drainpipes. Try not to water in the middle of a hot day as the water will just evaporate before the plants have had chance to drink it. Ground cover is important too – I usually clear out my children’s stone collections straight into the gaps in the flower beds! Some people find that hardy, vigorous plants such as wild geraniums and periwinkle also provide good ground cover and keep weeds at bay. All this can mean less watering and less weedkiller.
Mowing the lawn
Of course it makes sense that you will choose your lawnmower according to the size of lawn you have but I really must speak up for cylinder mowers. These are the ones that use manpower instead of electricity or petrol. We have one and it is great. In addition to being carbon-neutral, there is also no lead to worry about mowing over and no petrol to fill up; and it’s a lot more satisfying knowing you mowed your lawn with the sweat of your own brow! Don’t forget to compost your grass cuttings when you’ve finished!
These are just three ways you can look after the planet at the same time as looking after your garden – I’m sure you’ve got lots more!