In spite of a few misconceptions that many people harbour, eco-friendly gardening does not mean giving up any of your favourite flowers, or putting up with a mess, or living with obnoxious insects – quite the opposite in fact. It may, however, be a little more work, if only in the process of educating yourself about the various aspects of going green(er) in your garden.
There is a wealth of information about how to make gardening more productive both botanically and aesthetically; you can find how-to and what-to info all over the place. The following tips are just a few very basic suggestions for anyone just starting a garden or planning to make some green moves in the one they already have.
Start out and continue with indigenous plants. Instead of spending a fortune on exotic flora that won’t thrive in the soil and climate you can provide, go with the native plants that will. You can not only save money but avoid importing a foreign species that might spread out of control and endanger the rest of the garden, not to mention the neighbour’s.
Use water butts to collect rainwater for the inevitable dry spells. Rainwater is better for your garden than the average tap water, and you’ll save money on usage (unless you have a well, of course.) Keep a protected corner for compost; kitchen leavings as well as garden and lawn clippings make excellent organic fertilizer. Compost also takes the place of chemical fertilizers, which is a huge plus.
Many ‘weeds’ are edible; after all, they are just hardy plants that happen to be growing where you don’t want them. Learn about their properties, and make use of the useful ones. As for the ones you can’t use, make sure to root them out before they have a chance to seed and become a real nuisance.
Again, these hints are just a scrap of the whole world of knowledge that’s easily available, so learn as much as you can and the rewards will astound you.