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  • Writer's pictureKatrina Flad

Sustainable Gardening

"So what does that really mean, sustainable gardening?" is a question I get a lot. Well let me start with an image of your garden. Now imagine it totally revamped. New hard landscaping, new plants, fancy seating, the lot. That is garden design - right? Try to imagine this garden in winter. And what will it look like when some plants self-seed through the gravel? When the tree I planted for you grows and casts shade over the flowerbeds? When the birds start building nests? When the moss grows on the stone wall?

Gardens never stop evolving. They are forever changing, dynamic eco-systems. Life is what makes every garden unique and interesting. The soil-life helps plants grow with little input. The birds bring song, in harmony with the buzzing of the bees. Sustainable gardens celebrate the changes, be it with minor edits here and there, as we are part of this ecosystem. Sustainable designs welcome the spontaneous life.

Now imagine another thing for me. Green fly is a little aphid. When it comes in big numbers, it can do a lot of damage. In many gardens, out comes some sort of a pest control, labelled organic or other, as soon as aphids are spotted. But we forget. The greenfly is food for ladybirds. Take away their food and they will not stay long in your garden. So you keep on spraying year after year to fight the greenfly. Leave the greenfly, be patient, and you will see a solution appear. Hoverflies, ladybirds and a whole range of helpers will come and do the work for you.

But here is it. To garden in this way we need patience. A lot of it. So as a designer I have tricks up my sleeves. Selecting robust plants that can withstand a bit of damage. Improving soil, because the healthier the plants, the less likely they are attacked. Adding habitat for ladybirds and hoverflies, luring them into the garden well before the greenfly becomes a problem. I can't predict everything, but a thorough site survey is essential for planning ahead. And ongoing observations will help us to be responsive. And exactly that is what sustainable gardening is all about.

Together we bring life into gardens.

Katrina | frock n wellies

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