Being Green

How Green Is Your Garden..er?

Green issues are very high on the agenda, and not before time!  Working outside with nature, we have certainly noticed the change in climate.

 

You may think that all gardeners are green.  Most of the waste we produce is green and recyclable after all.

 

But what about the fuel used to transport that waste to a recycling depot, and then on to a composting site.  On top of that there is the fuel used by the machinery needed to turn the fresh green waste into compost.

 

The use of pesticides and loss of habitat and food sources for wildlife are also of major concern.

 

The average, neat British garden is a barren place for wildlife.  The drop in the sparrow population has been blamed, in part, on the loss of habitat in gardens.

 

To reduce carbon emissions we: -

*    Plan our site routes to reduce mileage.

*     Avoid travelling during the busiest times on the road.

*     Keeping tools on the vans to a minimum so that more waste can be transported.

*     Encourage waste re-use on site such as compost bins or mulching some beds with cuttings.

*     Loose cut lawns where collecting the grass is not necessary for the health or appearance of the

    lawns, leaving the nutrients to be returned to the soil.

 

To reduce impact on wildlife we: -

*     Cut what hedges we can, hard back in the winter so we can avoid cutting them during the nesting season.

*     Keep pesticide use to a minimum and only use appropriate pesticides, at the right time of year and in the right conditions.

 

To encourage wildlife where possible we: -

*     Prune shrubs in a manor that maintains cover to nesting birds.

*     Prune berry-producing shrubs in a manor that encourages berries.

*     Establish log piles for beneficial invertebrates.

*     Establish wildflower areas.

*     Provide and maintain feeding stations.

*     Provide and maintain nest boxes.

*     Provide ‘Bug Hotels’ for beneficial insects.

 Bug Hotels

 Seven_spot_ladybird


 Bug Hotels provide nesting and hibernating places for invertebrates such as ladybirds and butterflies that would normally use holes and crevices in dead trees. 


Again, a number of these creatures are of benefit to the rest of the garden.  Ladybirds and Lacewings eat greenfly so reducing the need for pesticides.




WildFlowers

By ‘Wild Flower Area’ we do not mean letting the nettles and dandilions go wild!  

 

A wild flower area is an area that is seeded with British wild flowers that, although not rare, are becoming less common in urban environments.  This space can be as small as one square metre but can attract more butterflies, insects and other invertebrates than the whole of the rest of the garden.  These small creatures and the seed-heads the wild flowers produce then attract birds, hedgehogs and other vertebrates.

 

A number of these creatures are of benefit to the rest of the garden.  Ladybirds and their larvae eat thousands of greenfly in their lifetime and hedgehogs eat slugs, snails and earwigs.

 
  
Ladybird Larvae eating aphid
 Larvae of two different species of ladybird eating an aphid