People with urban gardens can make a real contribution to helping the environment, but many of them don’t realise it, according to a new survey.
Some 46% of the 1,000 people questioned claimed that urban pollution in their immediate environment are among the most important issues they face as city dwellers, yet 21% said they don’t know how to tackle the problem.
With this in mind, garden designer Charlie Dimmock has joined a campaign to encourage ‘urbanites’ to introduce eco measures into their gardens to help reduce the carbon footprint.
“People with small urban gardens think they can’t make a difference to the wildlife, but they can because they can create corridors to larger areas such as parks, greens and railway cuttings,” says Charlie.
“Building a wooden compost area, establishing a recycling space or growing your own herbs in a window box, are all simple steps that can make a real difference.
“If you have a spring clean of your garden, leave an area overgrown, to act as a shelter for hedgehogs and beneficial insects,” she added.
“A lot of people hate ivy, but many urban gardens benefit from having fences covered with ivy, which is a really good wildlife plant because it flowers late in the season, has a high nectar content and helps to keep down noise pollution. It also makes a good nesting site for birds.”
Charlie also advises urban gardeners to plant mixed hedges to keep out noise and pollution and attract wildlife. Ideal varieties include hawthorn, yew and field maple, which will absorb some of the noise.
If you have a small area, use the vertical space by growing climbing veg such as runner beans up a fence, raspberries or spineless blackberries, which provide shelter for birds.
If you live in an area where traffic fumes and dust are a problem, plant evergreens to absorb the dirt. They will withstand a lot of grime and act as a filter and a windbreak.
Scented plants can also offset the smell of traffic fumes. Try growing night-scented stocks in a pot for evening scent.
“Urban gardens can be wonderful wildlife hubs if you do the right planting to ensure they have food and shelter,” says Charlie.