Eco - gardening?

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oldjerry
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Eco - gardening?

Post: #211698 oldjerry
Wed Oct 13, 2010 9:25 pm

I don't watch loads of gardening programmes,but I'm aware of this recent growing fashion for eco-friendly garden products,such as peat - free compost,bio-degradable pots,etc.etc.Nowt wrong with that I hear you say,and I'm in agreement.But before the nursery\garden centre industry gives itself too big a pat on the back here's a couple of things to think about:

Thanks to this industry,with huge support from TV and the print media, swathes of the british landscape are colonised by non-native plants, a catastrophe for local eco-systems.I'm not talking about garden escapees (knotweed, Rhododendron et al) 'though they are disasterous too,but ornamental gardens themselves.However pretty,well promoted or profitable,Chinese,Japanese,South African etc plants,might grow here,but in eco terms they dont belong here.A fully mature English Oak supports something like 400 different species of fauna,your average japanese maple,more like 4.Given the industrialisation of so much agricultural land and the consequences that has for native fauna,britsh gardens COULD be oases of native wildlife(at least we might not have to spend so much importing peanuts to feed the birds,they could feed themselves!).I havent expressed this as well as I hoped,but if you're interested the Natural History Museum site has a Postcode Plant Database,put your postcode in,you'll be amazed the native stuff that you can grow.

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Millymollymandy
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Re: Eco - gardening?

Post: #211723 Millymollymandy
Thu Oct 14, 2010 7:50 am

Well I sort of agree but there are also loads of non native plants which support a lot of wildlife too. My garden (a hectare!) is a mix of native French trees and wild stuff (just let it grow wild) and cultivated and pretty bits with plants from no doubt all over the world. Actually I can say that the bees and the butterflies are to be seen mostly in the pretty bits and not in the woodland - with the exception of meadow brown butterflies - though there are more of them outside of the woodland feasting on my thyme (native) and Verbena Bonariensis (from Buenos Aires I believe). :lol: Though I'm well aware that the caterpillars eat the grass that just grows long and wild in the wild bits and many other butterfly and moth caterpillars feed on the native stinging nettles/groundsel/ragwort etc then it's just the butterflies drinking the nectar in the flower beds. But they wouldn't find any nectar in the wild bits as there are no flowers apart from a very few in spring, and it's just a dead completely dried out mess by mid summer as it doesn't get watered.

So I reckon I'm helping wildlife more by doing both kinds of gardening. :flower:
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oldjerry
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Re: Eco - gardening?

Post: #211726 oldjerry
Thu Oct 14, 2010 8:55 am

I'm not saying don't grow non-native plants,I always have (though mostly in pots and containers more like houseplants) I spose I'm having a go at the whole nursery\ornamental gardening business(which I trained and worked in).I know that you can plant several butterfly friendly species,but local eco -systems tend to consist of insects you cant see(and probably wouldn't want to!),they dont have the ability to travel great distances for food .Mrs. OJ spends fortunes on wildbird feed,and is convinced we have a wildlife friendly garden,but when I equate it to several vultures cruising across the serengeti to feast on the carcass of a dead zebra she gets a bit shouty.

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Re: Eco - gardening?

Post: #211734 Green Aura
Thu Oct 14, 2010 9:56 am

There is an argument that current natives will not continue to grow with progressing climate change and they'll need to be grown further north, with non-native species being brought in to fill the void.

I'm not totally sure what I think about this - surely many plants and trees will adapt, unless it's a sudden dramatic change, of course, although some may not.
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oldjerry
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Re: Eco - gardening?

Post: #211757 oldjerry
Thu Oct 14, 2010 1:19 pm

flora and fauna have adapted to climate change since the dawn of time (ironically it's humans that have the problem),but take a hectare of ornamental garden ,count the native species then compare it to a similar area of permanent pasture,ancient woodland,upland heath etc.... no contest.

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MuddyWitch
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Re: Eco - gardening?

Post: #211784 MuddyWitch
Thu Oct 14, 2010 5:22 pm

OJ, I love your 'vultures in the serengeti' analogy! :lol:

I agree that we should all try to grow as many native species as we can, but that's not always easy. Even the so-called natives have often been bred to produce 'double' blooms which are useless to most nectar lovers. Or they have been bred for 'repeat flowering' at the expense of nectar production, scent, seed etc. Then there's the tidy gardener's habit of dead heading...the list goes on.

My biggest gripe with the greenwash at 'garden centres' (now THERE'S an oximoron!) is that you have to BUY the answer to overconsumption!!!! Peat-free compost? MAKE it! Biodegradable pots? Loo roll inards, lined with a bit of newspaper.

Here's a thought: if people are campaiging for returnable, deposit-type drinks botles, why not returnable, deposit-type plant pots?

MW
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Millymollymandy
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Re: Eco - gardening?

Post: #211810 Millymollymandy
Fri Oct 15, 2010 6:13 am

Ere I've been building up my plant pot collection for DECADES, literally! I'm not gonna give them back! :lol:
boboff wrote:Oh and just for MMM, :hugish: (thanks)


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