So, we're all told how to attract wildlife into our garden but how are we also going to lower our carbon footprint in the process??
With 66 million of us in the UK and and estimate 24 million homes with gardens that's a hell of a lot of gardens that could be put to amazing use growing their micro eco systems and lowering CO2.
Here are just a few tips on how to get your garden working overtime, lowering CO2, looking gorgeous and making our little bug friends and small mammals such as hedgehogs and foxes very very happy!
1. Plant more TREES! Yep, simple yet oh so effective. Trees are the lungs of the earth and with mass deforestation due to over farming of palm oil, soya and making way for even yet more livestock increasing the amount of trees we have globally has never been more critical.
But.... I see more people than ever chopping down trees because they don't look right or they block the sun into their garden. Please if a tree blocks your light into your garden, please just trim it or cut it back so it is less of a shade giver. The only time I advocate getting rid of a tree is if it's so big and close to homes that it is causing structural damage and subsidence. In that case I'd say get it taken down by a professional then compensate by adding more greenery, flowers and shrubs in the garden, perhaps even planting trees further away from the house or building affected if possible.
If you have a large garden and can afford to do so these trees may be worth looking at planting in the long run, they absorb the most CO2 and actually store it as well, keeping it out of atmosphere and breathing out Oxygen as they do - photosynthesis baby!!!!
- Pine (Ponderosa, red, white and Hispaniolan pines)
- Oake (Scarlet, Red and Virginia Live Oak)
- Douglas fir.
- Bald Cypress.
- Common Horse-chestnut.
- Black Walnut.
- London Plane.
- American Sweetgum.
These are all pretty large trees so probably not that attainable for most people but it's good to at least know there are there are some super carbon suckers out there!
2. Plant loads of flowers, shrubs and fast growing grasses like bamboo, the super plant of all plants. All plants absorb CO2 not just the trees so by having these in abundance you're not only creating a haven for wildlife, mammals, birds and insects, you're helping reduce your carbon as well. Win win eh?! If you can, go eco with your plant choices, choosing plants that are local/sustainable to the area and environment that you are in.
3. Go Natural. Don't use fertlizers, growth enhancers, weed and feed etc etc that are synthetic, keep it natural, organic if you can too! This way you're not adding to the synthetic overload on the earth, you're being kinder to the soil and also the wildlife in your micro eco system garden.
4. Compost and/or get a wormery. This kinda goes in hand with going natural. Create your own compost for your garden and get rid of your kitchen waste too! Don't forget to read the instructions on what can and cannot go into these composters, meat, fish and dairy are a no no I'm afraid. I'd love a wormery but my husband is absolutely terrified of worms, I kid you not. The thought of having them living in a massive box in our shed or garden fills him with dread!
5. Reduce, reuse, recycle. Do you really need that new garden furniture or bbq? have your old ones broken down or are you just keeping up with the Jones's and current trends? I'm afraid the days for want over need are over. We need to make sure we are literally using everything to within an inch of it's life before we get rid of it. Giving things away is great but then we need to make sure we aren't just buying new all the time. We need to have a circular economy mindset in all aspects of our life.
6. Buy Eco. If you have to buy new as it's the only option then keep it simple. Buy local and buy sustainable. Buy from merchants who use sustainable eco materials. Lower carbon footprint by using your buying power correctly.
7. Get a Living Roof. If you have the money and the space to look into making the roof of your shed, garden room, summer house, extension made into a living roof. They're amazing, beautiful and will help suck up the CO2. Very Grand Designs but can be put on literally anything!
8. Use less water. Only water plants that really need it in the summer and please don't ruddy hose down your garden wasting water all over the show. Yes your grass may or may not die back but it'll always come back to full greenery, we don't live in the Aussie outback! Invest in a water butt (silly smirk) to catch rain over the year off of your roof and this should see you through the summer season.
9. Get bug hotels, bird feeders, bee loving flowers have shady areas for small mammals - make your garden inviting to our little friends so your micro eco system can be for all and super exciting to spend time in for your family.
10. Now for some don'ts....
- please be wary of paving over your front garden for parking, leave some for plants and shrubbery and invest in permeable stone if you can. Please do not pave over your entire back garden. It may be convenient and easy to clean but goodness you are not only taking away a wonderful way to take CO2 out of the atmosphere you are taking away places for small animals to rest, for birds to feed and for bugs to live. This is imperative for our overall eco system to thrive. Paving so much also causes flooding which we have seen an increase in recent times in the UK, especially where I live which is in part to all the people paving over their front and back gardens.
- Please don't use synthetic grass in your garden. It may be convenient in that you just clean it and hoover it (yep, for those that don't know, you hoover it...) but it's taking valuable grasses, plants, flowers and shrubbery away from again, taking CO2 out of our atmosphere and much like paving, it will disrupt our overall eco system by not having somewhere for bugs to thrive.
If you have any other suggestions on how to reduce CO2 through your garden please do let me know in the comments below!!!