For savvy garden enthusiasts with an environmental conscience, an eco-friendly garden can be both economical and elegant. With a few easy tips, even the most sophisticated and formal gardens can be environmentally friendly.
Be Resourceful When Using Resources
Using solar garden lights are a great way to give gardens a sophisticated evening look. Solar lights thrive outside and don’t waste any expensive energy. Building your own garden furniture out of reclaimed timber or other recycled materials is another easy and unique way to bring character and comfort to the garden. To save time constantly heading to the hose and using valuable water from a tap, consider setting up a few rainwater collection barrels to stockpile some off-season showers. The water can later be used to help plants in the garden get the hydration they’ll need in summer.
Nothing will ever thrive in isolation so it’s important to think of a garden as a mini-ecosystem. The most important, but regularly neglected element in any food chain is insects. Insects in the garden are essential for keeping an ecological balance that will maintain order and success for all plant life. Instead of shoeing away insects, welcome them into the garden. Ladybugs and lacewings eat plant destroying pests like aphids and blackflies. Planting bright flowers like sunflowers and marigolds attracts insects which in turn protect the flowers: a perfect symbiotic relationship, easily promoted in any garden.
Create with Compost
It may sound strange but there are few things more satisfying than adding kitchen scraps to a pile only to have that pile (almost miraculously) turn to nutrient rich plant food. Set up a compost pile in a warm, partly sunny spot on top of some existing soil. Add equal parts vegetable peelings, garden waste and products like paper or cardboard for the perfect mix to attract compost-making bugs which will aid the transformation from waste to garden gold. If composting proves slightly unsightly, there are plenty of easy ways to screen off a separate area where the more practical and productive garden work takes place. A well composed pile will have successfully decomposed within six to nine months.
Many amateur gardeners have a tendency to select plants at random based on things like colour or familiarity. It’s important when planning a garden to consider which plants work best together in natural environments; this is known as companion planting. When two or more plants are grown close together they can help each other thrive and fend off pests. A bit of research will reveal which plants grow well together and from that even the greenest of gardeners can have a thriving, ecologically balanced and protected plot.
Gardening is at once about cultivation and conservation. Understanding and supporting the natural environment in which a cultivated plot exists will help both garden and gardener work harmoniously with an eco-system to achieve positive and productive results.
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