March 23rd, 2023 by
Planning improvements to your garden is about much more than deciding where to put your outdoor furniture or which bedding plants to buy this year. Garden trends for 2023 are much more about working with the environment, being sustainable, and maximising investment.
Here are some suggestions for your garden that will make it work a bit harder and are all tipped to be big this year.
Improve your soil quality
Buying good quality plants is always recommended but the real key to growing stronger, more resilient, and more beautiful plants is to improve the quality of the soil that you plant them in. Soil that has high nutrient content, good drainage, and a good ‘crumb structure’ (plenty of air spaces) will create the best growing environment for your plants.
You can achieve this by doing things like adding supplements such as iron sulphate or seaweed extract, digging in organic matter such as compost or rotted manure, or even growing plants specifically to be used as mulch, such as comfrey and winter beans.
While the term may sound more like some kind of extreme sport than a gardening technique, xeriscaping refers to processes that make your garden drought resistant and reduce the need for irrigation. Why would you want to do this? Well, it has a number of benefits: it helps to conserve water, it allows plants to thrive during hot, dry periods (especially useful in the event of a hosepipe ban), and it means you don’t have to spend your summer evenings watering your plants. As our weather becomes increasingly erratic, this type of forward planning ensures that your garden has a long-term strategy to flourish (plus, plants that live longer are less wasteful and have better value for money). Strategies include choosing drought-resistant plants, good soil quality (as outlined above), and alternative planting methods such as gravel beds.
Go a bit wild
One thing that is really beneficial, not only for your own garden but for the environment in general, is to let go of the need for everything to be neat and trimmed back. Allowing plants to overgrow and ‘re-wild’ is an effective way of creating better biodiversity; allowing a number of species of insects and creatures to flourish. Bees and butterflies help to pollinate plants, worms aerate the soil, and spiders, hedgehogs, and amphibians are great pest controllers. Even those we consider less desirable, such as wasps, aphids, and slugs have important parts to play in the ecosystem and food chain. It can also be really fascinating to monitor the various species that you attract, especially for children.
Create a ‘tapestry lawn’ by allowing the grass to grow longer and don’t be so quick to pull out weeds. Plant some wildflowers, allow foliage to grow out, create a compost heap, and maybe even add a pond. You could see your garden become a haven for bees, butterflies, birds, hedgehogs, frogs, and even bats.
Stimulate your senses
Your garden offers the opportunity to stimulate all your senses so think beyond the visual aesthetic and incorporate sounds, scents, and even flavours. Choose plants for their aromas or even how they sound when they move in the breeze (plants such as tall ornamental grasses). Maybe add some wind chimes or other décor that has an audible sound.
Herbs are wonderful plants to grow as they smell wonderful and have a functional purpose too. Add them to cooking or salads or even eat them straight from the plant. (It’s also much cheaper to grow your own than to buy them from the supermarket). Creating a holistic sensory experience can have huge benefits for mental health and well-being, offering a tranquil sanctuary for you to retreat to.
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