The more we can do to be individually eco-friendly, the more we can benefit collectively! And our gardens are a great place to start. We can take small, easy steps to becoming greener through making conscious changes, from planting wildlife-friendly plants to using more sustainable gardening methods. Don’t let the phrase eco-friendly put you off – it’s much easier than you think.
In fact, in an effort to live more sustainably, 43% of gardeners under 40 grow their own vegetables, while 82% of British gardeners say they would like to attract more wildlife into their backyards.
So, now that we know there’s not just a demand for eco-friendly gardening ideas, but a real drive, we can go forth knowing we’re not alone in our efforts! To help you in your green gardening journey, I’ve put together a few quick tips which can kick-start your new ethos into action.
1. Add a bird feeder
An abundance of birds generally means a healthy garden! Birds help to pollinate and spread the seeds of native plants, control pesky bug populations and keep weeds in check. Plus, they’re beautiful to look at!
A quick way to attract birds to your garden is to add a bird feeder. There are different types of bird feeders for different birds, but this one from QVC is a great all rounder.
It features five feeders in one, allowing you to place different types of foods in each to see what your local birds like best! Each of the feeders is equally spaced from the next to allow birds space when they’re feeding. Also, the design is elegant and subtle, making a beautiful addition to any outdoor space.
2. Start a compost heap
If you have a reasonable outdoor space, a compost heap is a great introduction to living more sustainably. Even if your backyard isn’t that big, there are ways to implement a composting routine that won’t require a lot of space (take a look at some more ideas here).
Composting allows you to take your organic garden materials, raw food waste, and other biodegradable waste, and over time turn it into a nutritious food for your garden.
3. Plant wildlife-friendly instant plants for winter
We love growing and planting new flowers and greenery in spring, but unfortunately this task can get neglected a little in winter, meaning that our native wildlife struggles to find food and shelter during the harshest months of the year.
By planting instant winter plants such as pansies, snowdrops, cyclamen and more, we can help our wildlife thrive!
4. Install a water butt
Why pay for water to hydrate your garden when you can get it for free from the sky? Seems like a no-brained, but many gardens still don’t have water butt’s installed.
A water butt sits at the bottom of a drain pie and collects water. You don’t really need to do much to maintain it – maybe give it a clean once a year – but it allows you to both save money on water and live more sustainably.
5. Add mulch to your garden
Continuing the theme of water, if you don’t want to have to water your garden as much, you can add mulch around your plants to help keep the water in the soil.
Mulch can take the form of stones, bark, well-rotted manure – or, for double points, you could use the compost from your compost heap!
What are your favourite green gardening methods?
Michael has been involved with gardening and plants since he was just five years old. He is a self-professed Plant Geek, and was listed in the Sunday Times top 20 most influential people in the gardening world, thanks to his plant hunter role at Thompson & Morgan.
Michael was responsible for new plant introductions such as the Egg and Chips plant and the FuchsiaBerry and keeps busy travelling the world in search of new plants as well as lecturing worldwide, including stints in Japan. He is very active on social media – so why not give him a follow at @mr_plantgeek or Facebook. You can also listen to The Plant Based Podcast with Michael and co-host Ellen-Mary on iTunes, Spotify and Google.