Is your relationship with nature helpful or harmful
Gardening is not just about having beautiful plants and flowers, it's also about feeding and taking care of nature, being a part of a wholesome activity and nurturing our local environment. Gardening is used around the world in hospitals to help convalescing patients heal. It's used to calm kids with behavioural problems, and also by individuals for therapeutic purposes. So, not only is it significant for our world, it's also important to us as human beings.
While we work our gardens this summer, how about paying some attention to how green ours really is. Apart from using the right plants for the right conditions, recycling kitchen waste to make compost, and using non-chemicals to control pests, there are a few more things we can do to work with nature to make a greener, more eco friendly garden.
~Encourage birds in your garden. Place bird boxes in private areas of your garden and put out food and water for them. Birds will provide a large amount of droppings for your plants and they'll keep pests at a minimum too. Plant shrubs whose berries they like to eat in the winter when food is scarce and watch the circle of nature build up yearly in your garden space.
~Using pesticides upsets the ecology of your garden. It'll kill beneficial insects too, and not only the ones you want off your plants. Remember that in the circle of life, everything gets eaten by something else. Maintain this balance and nature will take care of itself. Put out cut bamboo (or any other dried stems that have holes in the middle. Beneficial insects like ladybirds (lady bugs) love to nest in these. You can even shop for them online. Aphids on roses can be washed off with a hose pipe or be removed with your fingers.
~Chemicals in your soil will affect your plants as well as your weeds. Try digging up the weeds from their roots if you can, instead of using sprays on them.
~Grow the plants which are native to your local area. These will need less looking after and less water. Besides, you'll never have to change your soil to encourage other (more exotic) plants to grow.
~Make your own compost from your vegetable and fruit scraps from the kitchen. Tissues, old cotton and garden waste are also suitable ingredients for your compost heap.
~Create a heap of dead wood somewhere in your garden for small animals to shelter. Leave a small area of long grass around it if you've got the space. Hedgehogs love these areas and as they feast on snails and slugs, are useful to have around.
~Plant at least one sweet-smelling flower to encourage the bees. They're in decline and need all the help they can get. Bees also like red clover, poppies and foxgloves. These are all easy to grow.
~Use sustainable material for your garden. Go easy on cement and make use of natural materials like wood and stone for example.
~Add some drought resistant plants to the mix, and never use peat.