With the New Year now in full swing, it is time to think about new projects and changes in the garden. As with anything in the garden it is best to plan ahead and here are 4 ideas which you could be thinking about now.
With the increase in consumers switching to ethical companies, there is now an increase of products available for those with a conscious mind. You may think that these ethical products mainly focus on food, clothes and the household, but there also options for the garden.
The change may be as simple as buying a bird feeder made out of sustainable wood or adding solar lights, but it could also be switching your compost or soil products to those that are peat free. Peat causes detrimental effects to our environment, as harvesting from peat bogs destroys fragile ecosystems and releases carbon into the atmosphere, exacerbating global warming. Contrary to myth, peat free compost has plenty of benefits for your garden. It is full with organic matter and nutrients that will feed your garden over a longer period of time. Both of these are essential to help your garden grow to its very best.
Our Earth Cycle products are a 100% peat free and an added ethical benefit is that our compost products are also made on site from locally sourced recycled green waste. By doing so we are reducing the quantity of waste being directed into landfills, resulting in a reduction of toxic gases that get released into the atmosphere.
Vertical Garden/Green Walls
A popular trend for those with a green thumb is to have a vertical garden. This is perfect for those who have limited space and can even be created inside. Having a vertical garden is easy to harvest and also easy to maintain and with its increased popularity there are now even easy assemble systems that can be purchased. You can create a vertical garden through numerous systems, such as a container style garden, a pocket garden, hanging buckets or even stacked crates. For a more unique look you could even upcycle a ladder, a chest of drawers and a shoe organiser.
You can grow most things in a vertical garden including herbs, vegetables, perennials and ferns. But, the key to making this work is ensuring that you are choosing plants that grow in the same habitat. They should be either all sun or all shade plants and for their growth rate to be the same as otherwise one plant could inhibit the other. The plant flexibility is also important for a vertical garden and this is much easier when using herbaceous plants than a wood one, as the stem if soft and can droop instead of being rigid.
Many businesses have also adopted this approach as having a green wall has shown that this does have a positive effect on the work environment. The benefits of having a green feature on the outside of a building are also just as strong and were reiterated on Planet Earth 2.
Similar to a vertical garden a green roof is also the perfect alternative if you have little space or the ideal project to get stuck into if you want to maximise your planting potential. Creating your green roof is going to take a little more work than your standard patch of garden, however with the right products your plants will flourish and minimal maintenance would be needed. Our substrates are designed for green roofs and are lightweight and perfect for this type of project.
With regards to planting it can be done in two ways, either by using pre vegetated blankets or by seeding. Wildflowers are an excellent choice if you are keen to make the roof a floral feature, as they do not require much nutrition and are fairly tolerant of harsh conditions. Cows slip, rockrose, harebell, hawkweeds and thyme are all good choices. It is always best to choose a variety of plants for your roof as the success of a self-contained plant community is increased when mixed species are used.
The maintenance of a green roof is usually fairly minimal and a couple checks a year should ensure your green roof will flourish in years to come. Having a green roof is great for adding colour to your space and can be placed on sheds, garages and any building ledges. Just be sure that the structure can hold the weight, even when saturated and that the drainage outlets remain clear from debris.
2016 saw an increase in millennials taking to gardening with the most popular aspect of growing your own. Being able to grow your own has plenty of benefits, from price to freshness, so there is no wonder why the edible market keeps on growing. The information that is now available on the internet provides you with even more choice for what is edible in your garden, including an app that can identify unknown flowers. Edible flowers are a great way to add to the productivity of your garden and are perfect for adding a new flavour to salads, drinks and cakes.
Here is a list of some popular edible flowers for you to get planting this year:
- Bee Balm
- Courgette flowers
- Garden Sorrel
- Johnny Jump-Up
- Tulbaghia Violacea