The last few years have seen huge growth in the UK’s interest in sustainability and environmental issues. The amount of household waste that is recycled, for example, has increased by an average 36% in the past 15 years and throughout the country we are seeing interest grow in organic foods and a resurgence in the “grow your own” culture. However, contrary to the assumption that our gardens are havens of sustainability, there is an awful lot more Brits could be doing in our own back yards to be more responsible about the environment.
Outdoor heaters, lighting, lawn mowers and water features all use significant amounts of energy. Adapting your garden behaviour to reduce the number of electric or gas powered appliances or tools you use, or simply reducing the number of times you use these items will significantly reduce your overall energy output.
Using a manual lawn mower rather than a petrol or electric powered mower, not only reduces emissions, but gives you a bit of a work out at the same time! Outdoor gas patio heaters became such a hot topic that in 2008, the European Parliament considered passing a ban on them! Although gas heaters aren’t the environmental disaster that has become anecdotal in the past few years, it is true that if you are determined to install outdoor heating, electric heaters produce a fraction of the emissions of their louder and smellier gas cousins. If you insist on using them, then consider powering your heaters with a sustainable energy source, such as solar panels. Solar panels can be expensive to install, but over the course of their lifetime they should actually pay off the initial investment through the money they save in energy bills.
We at Floral & Hardy, however, prefer to enjoy our gardens in the evening with a warming glass of wine and a jumper on!
Water your plants at dusk. Not only do you ensure that less of the water evaporates from the soil in warm sunlight this way, it’s also healthier for your plants, as they don’t take water into their leaves in the hottest part of the day, risking scorching. Adding mulch around the base of your plants absorbs the water and keeps it close to the base of the plant, ensuring no water runs off and is wasted.
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