Why gardening matters
Whit weekend is important in the gardening calendar. Not only is it a bank holiday but it is the first weekend after the Chelsea Flower Show. The Royal Horticultural Society has used the Show as the time to launch a scientific review of the value of gardening in combating climate change.
The report Gardening Matters: Urban Gardens, argues that domestic gardens contain around 25% of the total non forest and woodland trees and a mssive 86% of urban trees.
Firstly gardens help to control urban temperatures, mitigating the impact of extreme hot and cold weather. Secondly, gardens help to absorb rain water that might over wise overwhelm drains, thus reducing the risk of flooding. The RHS is running a campaign to encourage householders not to pave over their front gardens.
Thirdly, gardens are also mini nature reserves, there are many articles on n21online testifying to their importance in preserving populations of bees, stag beetles, butterflies and pond life. The study found that many species, including common frogs, and hedgehogs are more common in urban areas than in the countryside. One study of a garden in Sheffield, sited in the report, found the density of birds was six times higher than across the nation as a whole. The RHS has a website provides loads of advice on how to 'turn your garden into a wildlife heaven,
Whilst water use to keep largely ornamental gardens looking good in dry weather is an issue, even allowing for this, the value of keeping the vegetation in prime condition massively outweighs the use of water and energy associated with gardening.
Gardening is also good for our physical and mental health; not just through the additional nutritional value of stuff we grow, but is also important in providing physical exercise. From a psychological point of view, the report points out that gardening provides a channel for creativity, a sense of fulfilment from nurturing plants and an area where people can have exercise control, which may be lacking from other areas of their lives and engender an overall sense of well being. According to the research gardening can even improve cognitive function, reduce the incidence of disease, reduce stress, reporting of painful symptoms and help people who have had to deal with trauma.
The RHS offers these ten tips to make your gardening efforts go that little bit further:
1. Plant a deciduous tree for summer cooling through shade and evapotranspiration. Fast growing deciduous trees offer the maximum carbon capture benefit.
2. Plant a climber or hedge against your house for shade and insulation.
3. Don't pave over large areas and think about replacing existing paving with permeable surfaces and vegetation.
4. Go for plant diversity to support animal biodiversity.
5. Perennial plants, growing over large areas return year after year minimizing annual soil disturbance, a factor that helps with carbon capture.
6. Consider replacing lawn areas with other permanent planting.
7. Factor in energy efficiency when considering new or replacement garden equipment. 8. Make compost and mulch. Use it to cover soil and prevent evaporation.
9. Collect rainwater and use "grey water" - from dishwashing and baths - for small scale garden use.
10. Place plants carefully for minimal water use, maximum energy saving and energy capture.
The RHS website is a fantastic resource, not just for ultra keen gardens, but people just interested in getting the most out of thier own little green patch.
The Royal Horticultural Society has launched a scientific review of the value of gardening in combating climate change.Gardening Matters: Urban Gardens, argues that domestic gardens contain around 25% of the total non forest and woodland trees and a msssive 86% of urban trees.
The Royal Horticultural Society has launched a scientific review of the value of gardening in combating climate change. Gardening Matters: Urban Gardens, argues that domestic gardens contain around 25% of the total non forest and woodland trees and a mssive 86% of urban trees.