Sustainable gardening tips

Daphne Bholua “Jacqueline Postill” at 30 De Beauvoir Square

On 2nd February Cordwainers Grow ran a trip to Seedy Sunday in Brighton which was open to Hackney Union of Garden members – and that includes DBG members. I went along with my neighbour Pat and had a great day, coming away with far too many seeds!

The event included a talk by Dave Goulson, Professor of Biology at the University of Sussex, bee specialist and author. He gave us some tips for sustainable gardening that I thought I would share in bullet form so they are easy to remember.

  • Mow less.
  • Get involved in re-wilding community spaces – see the Road Verge Campaign.
  • Think of weeds as wildflowers and give them space in your garden to encourage biodiversity (many bees and insects need native wildflowers such as nettles and dandelions to survive).
  • Don’t use any pesticides or chemical fertilisers.
  • Choose to grow flowers which attract pollinators ie. open old fashioned roses not the closed kind which offer up no pollen. Avoid annual bedding plants which offer up little to no pollen.
  • Plant insect friendly perennials like lavender, catmint, hardy geraniums, borage, comfrey, laburnum, apple trees, viper’s bugloss (echium).
  • Grow from seed to avoid buying plants from garden centres which are often grown using pesticides and peat-based compost.
  • Do not buy peat-based compost.
  • Install a bee hotel, a wildlife pond or a fly lagoon.
  • Do not use Advocate flea treatment on your pets as this carries toxic insecticide that can be washed off into waterways and kills insects far beyond the occasional flea.

The picture at the top of this post is of Kirsty Norman’s old garden. She writes:

‘In the front garden of our old house at 30 De Beauvoir Square, the Daphne Bholua “Jacqueline Postill” is now in massive flower, and in a light breeze you can smell the scent 100 yards away. I’d recommend a visit to cheer you in these cold late-winter days. I found the plant as a scrawny twig on the bargain bench at a garden centre, and 15 years later it is magnificent: when in flower one of the best front-garden plants in De Beauvoir! I used to cut back a couple of branches each year, to encourage growth lower down/ in the middle of the shrub (otherwise it becomes quite leggy).

Looking forward too seeing you all at the next meeting, our AGM, seed swap and party on 3rd March, full details here.

Avril x