Cambourne: 01954 710700
In the same way that humans need oxygen to survive, plants take up carbon dioxide and by using photosynthesis, they transform it into glucose to grow. They also release oxygen as a byproduct of photosynthesis. Clearly increasing the number of plants in our gardens and decreasing hard and artificial landscapes will make our gardens more effective at absorbing carbon, acting as a living lung, expelling oxygen and purifying the air – Tom Massey – what a great excuse to indulge in more plants.
We have just passed the longest day of the year, but for many of us July is the start of the summer and the beginning of our holidays. The sudden increase in the temperature in June has accelerated growth in the garden and brought most of our plants into bloom. We should be able to sit back now and enjoy the fruits of our labour. However, slugs, snails and aphids are set to destroy your efforts. The extremely high temperatures and lack of rainfall make watering essential. In response to climate change the modern way of gardening encourages us to address these problems differently from previous generations, avoiding pesticides and keeping the use of garden hoses to a minimum. The good news is that encouraging birds, insects, hedgehogs and toads into our gardens will naturally take care of the aphids and slugs. Having a varied selection of shrubs and flowers blooming throughout the summer will encourage wildlife to your garden along with dishes of water. We were amazed to find we now have a resident toad in one of our planters, obviously attracted by the many slugs and insects as we don’t have a pond or even a water feature.
As gardeners we really can make a difference in the fight against climate change. The total area of gardens in  the UK as of 2022 was estimated at approximately 433,000 hectares, so as gardeners we are responsible for the land management of almost double the area of the National Trust. Gardens connect to form a larger landscape and green corridors allow wildlife to move safely. Putting Biodiversity at the forefront of our gardening choices will help to protect and support an essential part of our ecosystem as well as creating a beautiful, thriving garden that takes more care of itself and us.

We need to be mindful that the depletion of pollinators and declining soil health has a devastating effect on the food chain and delicate global ecosystems. Professor Dave Goulson of Sussex warns us that ‘ insects are in rapid decline as we make vast tracts of land inhospitable to most forms of life… we lose insects then everything is going to collapse.’

With the school holidays coming up, here are two activities to engage children and grandchildren whilst helping increase the biodiversity in your garden:

Home made brick for insects to lay their eggs

Pick Long grass and lay out to dry
Scrunch when dry and mix with earth and water
Shape and form into a brick
Use a twig or pencil to poke holes and leave out in the sun for a couple of days until hard. Many pollinators like to lay eggs in a hole which they believe another creature has already used as it is more likely to be safe.

Bug Hotel

If you can get hold of an old pallet, challenge yourself to make Tom Massey’s bug hotel (see RHS Resilient Garden – Tom Massey). We did and all the family can help collecting old branches, twigs, natural stones, bamboo canes and leaves. For alternatives go to


More good news for today’s gardeners is that we are encouraged by key British experts such as Charles Dowding and Alan Titchmarsh to follow No Dig Gardening. Disturbing the soil as little as possible prevents the soil structure being damaged and stops carbon being released into the atmosphere. When left undisturbed the soil has less need to recover and grows fewer weeds. Undisturbed soil is also full of organisms and microbes that help the plant find the nutrients and moisture they need – so less digging and less watering.

If you have a good-sized garden, we recommend you visit  where Cranfield University and the RHS have teamed up to generate an online resource to show gardeners how to use less mains drinking water. Following our earlier advice and planting perennials and bulbs these plants tend to have good root structures and will need less watering than annuals and bedding plants.

Although plants in pots need more watering it can be very handy to have them in pots when we are subject to a heatwave, or you are going on holiday. Moving the pots to a north or east facing side of your garden can help them survive until you return. If this isn’t possible placing under garden furniture can provide shade. In winter pots are best placed on small feet but in the summer saucers (readily available from garden centres) are really helpful to catch extra rainwater and enable you to fill them as well as fully watering the pot before you leave. If you have been vertically growing move your baskets so that one is in line above the other so that any run off water will drain on to the plant below and not waste a drop. We find that grow bag trays are very useful to place pots in temporarily and can be filled with water to sustain the plant whilst you are away.

Useful Tip: As our Summers are likely to get hotter make a note of which plants survive best in your garden this year and plant what you can in Autumn and early Spring to allow root structures to develop before the heat of Summer 2024.

Malcolm Thomas

Founder at Malcolms Estate Agents

Latest posts by Malcolm Thomas (see all)

Pin It on Pinterest