Let’s garden for carbon: Work on a plan that saves the Earth – and some pennies, too 


Garden for Carbon: Work on a plan to save the planet.

January is not the month for gardening. It is often too cold and too rainy. But this is precious time to sit and think. You can tackle problems, develop ideas, and plan for this glorious new year.

The most pressing problems shared by millions of gardeners are easy to solve. My garden is not small and requires a great deal of constant effort. That’s fine, but when you get closer to 79, it slows down and loses power.

Routine tasks take time and your garden suffers. As we get older, most of us need more time to keep everything in good shape. Achieving this is not difficult, but requires fundamental changes. You should be able to make your garden better with less hard work. Shortening working hours is one change.

We also want to reduce our carbon footprint. But I love plants, so I want to grow a mix of different varieties. To reduce heating costs and save energy, I grow fewer tender plants for my summer displays.

Group of yellow hardy aloe striatal flowers in summer

The resulting gaps are filled with new hardy plants. Reducing Energy Costs Reducing the number of bid plants requires brutal decisions. Less container may result in less color.

However, I love pelargoniums and collect rare ones. Usually they provide many cuttings and root in many summer containers.

This reduces heating and breeding costs and uses less power. In the spring they joined some larger exotics and are now lumpy outside. Our largest succulent, Aloe striatura, has lived unprotected outdoors for over 10 years.

It occupies a cozy southwest corner and has large yellow flowers that blend beautifully with blue agapanthus. But it needs hardy deciduous agapanthus to survive British temperatures that can drop below zero.

those are the exceptions. Most large subtropical plants require frost-free winter quarters. But canna lilies can be cut back to ground level, lifted and potted, or wrapped and stored in a frost-free area.

The succulent Aloe striatum produces bright yellow flowers in the summer and is soft and suitable for containers.Snowdrops, spring pulmonaria, nasturtiums and African daisies can all be planted year-round. Benefits of Rewilding Open space is at a premium in any garden.

It offers a recreational area and a pleasant view. Usually they are grass or pavement. A few years ago we had a long grassy double border with a wide grassy walkway separating our beds.

On a compulsion, I roughly mowed the plot and raked up the ruined perennials. The grass took over and was periodically rough cut. That fall I planted wild daffodils in large numbers—Narcissus Pseudonarcissus, Tenby he daffodils (N. obvallaris), purple and white crocuses.

Colchicum is added for fall color. Weeding begins in late June when the daffodils have withered. Mowing stops when the first colchicums appear in September.

The final November cut prepares the bedding for winter. Wildflowers such as cowslips, cuckoo flowers, and daisies emerge and follow spring bulbs. I hope that spotted orchids will bloom in the beautiful grass this year.

The first mowing in June is hard, and all the ‘hay’ has to be raking. But its wide swath is beautiful, rich in wildlife, and a carbon-storing feature.

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