Monday, 27 June 2011

More Green Space and Less Hard Surfaces in your Garden - WHY?

A recent report by the London Wildlife Trust on how London is losing its green gardens came up with some interesting facts.

  • There are approx 3.8 million gardens in London (if you count front and back gardens separately) – Wow what a lot.
  • 24% of London is domestic outdoor space with 14% of it vegetated. It is therefore really valuable green space.
As a result of garden design and maintenance since 1998/99 there has been a 12% drop in vegetation in gardens, hard surfaces have increased within gardens by 26% and areas of garden buildings by 55%. These are real losses as once an area is paved it is likely to be a long time, if ever, before it is removed.

The report got me thinking about how we transform our gardens to become more family friendly and suit the needs of our kids by adding paving, dens and outdoor offices. For front gardens car parking and more paving to ease maintenance are an increasing popular choice. Although planning permission is now needed if you wish to pave over your front garden unless the paving is permeable.

Our front garden

So how has our garden fared.  Are we helping this green decline?  In the back we have lifted a whole load of sleepers and created a vegetable bed (sorry edible garden – see previous post).  However we are extending the back of the house causing a 10ft loss of garden. So nil points here

In the front 2 years ago all the paving was lifted and a new garden created.  The idea was to create a low maintenance front garden full of plants.  The photo you see shows the garden now at the end of June having had no maintenance all year except for pruning of the dogwood.  So we are moving in the right direction here.

I reckon therefore our garden comes out neutral in terms of change, but more by accident then design - how does yours do?  I want our garden to attract wildlife and know that keeping it as vegetated as possible and planting insect attracting plants will help.  So from now on I will be monitoring it and checking on how we are doing.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

The Language of Gardening that will get Children Growing

Crops in pots

Growing your own and getting the whole family involved in gardening has become cool over the last decade.

We no longer have vegetable plots, but edible gardens. Our flower gardens have gone vertical and our roofs have gone green. Kids at school no longer garden, but grow. Though we still have loads of school gardening clubs. Everyone wants a sought after allotment, but community gardens and land shares are now real alternatives. If you haven’t got a garden you can still take the one pot pledge.

The focus on growing food is highlighted by some lovely slogans. So we now have:-

  • Ledge Veg
  • Crops in Pots
  • Plot to Plate
  • Fork to Fork
  • Welly to Belly
There’s bound to be more, so please add to the list by leaving a comment.

Vertical garden in an urban landscape

Our children attend Seedy Sunday and Sow and Grow events. For those who like a combative approach there is Guerrilla Gardening and Seed Bombs.

On a slightly more serious note we also have food security. A reason for growing your own food you will see more often raised on US gardening websites that those in the UK.  E Coli outbreaks, knowing where are food comes and dealing with food shortages may all well be issues are children have to deal with in the future.

However, for now, whether you garden or grow, they are all life skills for our kids. I love this new language of gardening.  Its great for our children to grow up with this new vocabulary.

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