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The RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2023

It was very interesting to see this year that the emphasis was on sustainability, increasing biodiversity in our gardens and preparing for climate change. Clive West’s Centrepoint Garden used so called weeds such as dandelions and cleavers to show how these can co-habit with more ornamental plants to increase biodiversity in the home garden. Tom Massey’s garden included knapweed and clover to entice pollinators essential for all our lives.

In order to encourage minimum waste of raw materials, Tom Massey showed that even old rubble, (found in the gardens of most new build sites) can produce plants which will grow slowly with a good root system and will therefore be more drought resistant. The rubble also gives interesting nooks and crannies to further increase the insect population of your garden. Other gardeners used old containers which would have normally gone to landfill to catch rain water, act as interesting plant pots or simply add character to their garden design.

If you are interested in increasing the biodiversity in your garden and re using waste materials, we recommend you visit and look out for our forthcoming Blog describing our visit to the Knepp Castle walled garden.

Pest Control

As much as we all want to encourage insects into our garden, when the first shoots and buds appear it is heart breaking to see them nibbled away by slugs or eaten to death by swarms of aphids. All of these pests have natural predators and are an important part of the food chain so please avoid the use of pesticides which will kill indiscriminately. If you have a good sized garden these welcome predators will arrive naturally but if you have a smaller space, you made need to work on attracting ladybirds, ground beetles and earwigs to eat the unwelcome aphids and attract birds, hedgehogs, or ground beetles to eat the slugs. This can be done by simply leaving a small pile of old wood in the corner of your garden, making/buying a hanging insect hotel if you are short of space, adding a water feature or even just an old dish or saucepan of water.  If your garden allows a small area of uncut grass this will help wildlife feel more secure to venture into your garden. However, if you are in fear of a precious plant being imminently destroyed put on your gardening gloves and simply run finger and thumb from the bottom of the stem to the affected bud and the aphids will easily come off. They can also be sprayed with a houseplant water sprayer or child’s water pistol filled with a weak sugar soap solution or just water.

Easy grow veg

If you haven’t got around to planting your own seeds don’t worry as the garden centres and large supermarkets are full of trays of vegetable plugs. You will find that most of the plugs hold 3-5 seedlings so a tray of 10 plugs suddenly becomes a tray of 50 seedlings, offering good value for money. Radishes, beetroot, or carrots will need a depth of organic peat free compost to grow into, so plant in the ground, a pot or raised bed depending on your space.

If you want to teach your children about the life cycle of a butterfly grow some cabbages😊 To save space, beans, peas and tomatoes can be grown vertically with a few canes.

It’s not too late to plant your favourite herb seeds. This is the most space and cost saving gardening activity you can do. Sage, mint and chives can cope with a semi shaded and damp area, but parsley, rosemary and basil prefer a sunny, well drained soil with plenty of watering.

Malcolm Thomas

Founder at Malcolms Estate Agents

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