5 Simple Ideas for Creating a Sustainable Garden
Find answers to five questions you might ask when designing a planet-friendly plot
There’s something wonderfully satisfying about growing food in your own patch, and it doesn’t always have to involve intensive watering. Try this idea from Ann Treneman, who designed the Wild Kitchen Garden at 2022’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
Ann was inspired by the flowers and plants she studied during her walks in the Derbyshire countryside to create this edible container garden. All of the plants are useful for culinary purposes, and they’re resilient enough to require less maintenance than many other crops.
Just a few of the many easy edible plants to try in your garden are alliums such as wild garlic, angelica (wild celery), clover, borage, fennel and thyme.
For help with creating a sustainable garden, find garden designers in your area.
Nectar-rich plants are a must in the garden if you want to provide a haven for bees, butterflies and other pollinators. However, nectar isn’t the only thing they require – remember to include access to water so bees can hydrate and cool down.
The important thing here is to ensure the water is shallow enough for the pollinator to access safely. Joe Swift’s RHS Bee Garden at Chelsea 2022, for example, combined a mix of deeper ponds and shallow areas to accommodate all wildlife.
Another simple idea is this dish recess on a Corten-steel post in The Wooden Spoon Garden by Toni Bowater and Lucy Welsh at 2022’s RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival.
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If you’re planning a home renovation and are keen to minimise waste, try using some of the discarded materials in your garden. There were plenty of ideas in Hamzah-Adam Desai’s Turfed Out garden at 2022’s RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival.
The bench, for example, doubles up as a bug hotel. It’s made of bricks, fence offcuts, timber stumps and the bamboo canes that come with new plants from nurseries.
Pavers discarded from a patio renovation can also be reused; Hamzah dotted a few throughout the gravel garden to provide stepping stones.
As summers get hotter and drier, it’s becoming increasingly important to be waterwise in our gardens. One way of doing this is to choose plants that don’t require much moisture. The Turfed Out garden at Hampton Court is a source of inspiration again here, as the planting is geared to drought tolerance.
Hamzah chose plants such as Salvia nemerosa; Eryngium; Allium sphaerocephalon; Lavandula, and Verbena bonariensis to bring colour to his gravel garden. All of the plants need minimal watering once they’re established, which makes them easy-maintenance and sustainable.
An easier solution for garden owners who don’t have time to refill bird feeders daily was showcased at 2022’s Chelsea Flower Show. The Jay Day balcony garden by Flock Party highlighted how you can create a natural habitat for birds in a tiny space.
A hazel tree was planted in a container to provide nuts for visiting jays, and the moss substrate below the mesh floor is a place for the birds to hide their acorns. There’s also an arched structure above the balcony that replicates a woodland canopy.
In your own garden, holly, ivy, honeysuckle and rowan are all good natural sources of food for birds.
Do you have any good tips for creating a sustainable garden? Share your ideas in the Comments.