Gardening with Nature

Gardens are special places where, as gardeners, we’re privileged to get up close to the natural world. But gardening with nature also makes you realize how precious it is. Our impact on the planet is well documented and it’s up to us to adopt more environmentally conscious ways of living. Growing your own food’s a great start, but how you grow it makes a big difference.

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Artificial fertilizers and pesticides are energy intensive to manufacture and carry many undesirable side effects, from polluting rivers to harming beneficial insects and soil life.

A natural approach – adding organic materials to the soil to build long-term soil fertility, and planting flowers to attract pest predators – avoids these negative impacts while creating a livelier, healthier garden.

Much of our waste can be composted. Composting is a natural process and a far more environmentally friendly alternative to burying it in landfill. Garden-made compost is often richer in valuable nutrients than bought-in sources of compost.

Make your own and enjoy a free source of natural fertilizer to feed your soil and the plants growing in it. Setting up a simple compost bin or heap doesn’t take long. It’s easy to add to and, don’t worry, it won’t smell!

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When adding new plants to your garden this month, choose one that has become an icon for a reason, so that you are in the 'royal circle' of gardening too! Heavenly bamboo (Nandinadomestica) is the heavenliest, ‘fake bamboo’ available! In large pots, they mean ‘good luck’ at your front door. They are the ‘Zen’ in Zen gardens. You can plant them in a row in a narrow space, with its changing sun and shade patterns between the house and a boundary wall. They will soon supply a lacy look with their rust-tinted leaves, and supply height with their tall-growing branches, giving you much-needed privacy. The bright red berries they produce, will delight you during winter. Also plant a few of its dwarf cousin (Nandinapygmaea), to create fiery foliage balls with bright autumn colours all over - good for sun or light shade. Both are cold-hardy and water wise.

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Pest Watch

  • Snails will be looking for places to overwinter. Clean up under containers and clumps of perennials where they will huddle together and put out fresh bait amongst young veggie seedlings.
  • Clean up under hedges; clear out gutters and drains and rake up fallen leaf litter and other debris and add them to your compost heap.
  • Ants are everywhere collecting food for the winter. To ensure that they do not hibernate in your lawn, you can get rid of them by applying an ant control agent. Certain products will destroy the nest, including the queen, within a few days. Treat the rest of your garden with a systemic insecticide that should keep insects at bay until the start of winter.
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