Hello, this is Jill from the Wild Bunch with our latest column.
I was pleased to hear on Gardener’s Question Time that a report from a House of Lords committee has just been published that highlights the shortcomings of England’s current horticulture policies and practices. It mainly looks at large scale horticulture, but has sections relevant to amateur horticulturists, gardeners like you and me.
According to the report our private gardens make up around 5% of England’s total land area, however they are at present ranked as low habitat types. The RHS states that “there is clear scientific evidence to show that the domestic garden and cultivated landscapes are of high value for UK biodiversity”. So as amateur horticulturists we play a significant role in conservation of wildlife.
Concerns were raised in the report about the threat to biodiversity by such practices as paving over green spaces and the use of artificial grass, as both have a negative effect on drainage and biodiversity. However, as well as gardening responsibly and mindfully, the report suggests steps we can take to increase biodiversity. These include:
- Choosing the right flowers for the garden space
- Ensuring the integration of a range of plant species that provide pollen and nectar and a range of habitats to wildlife.
- Including native species of plants and trees to support native wildlife.
- Adding a pond or water to encourage aquatic life and as a water source for local wildlife.
- Encouraging grass to grow wild or longer to provide shelter for small mammals and habitat for insects.
And let me add to the list:
- Use peat-free compost or make your own.
- Conserve water by installing water butts.
- Come along to Wild Bunch gatherings to network with other wildlife gardeners. Our next gathering is on 16th November, focusing on leaf mulch and composting. To sign up, visit: https://www.frometowncouncil.gov.uk/wild-bunch/ and keep an eye on the page for upcoming dates.