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Gardening For A Sustainable Future

My favourite garden at Chelsea this year was Nigel Dunnett's RHS Greening Grey Britain Garden. I loved his design at Hampton Court 2015 with the green roof binstore so much that I designed one for my own garden which now has an established green roof with thriving succulents, flowers and herbs.


This year Nigel's garden offered more practical ideas on how to create sustainable community gardens and edible crops in tiny balcony gardens, all within a beautiful space with vivid, yet soft planting of black elderflowers, euphorbia, camassia, salvia and dianthus. I've written more about the garden on my blog...

We're always trying to garden with the environment, both in my own garden and in our community garden, so I'd be really interested to know what are your most successful tips for sustainable gardening and which gardens have inspired you to garden more sustainably. Thanks image


  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,542

    Compost everything and never chuck away a plant. If you can't find a home from it, give it away to someone else.

  • dogwooddaysdogwooddays Posts: 258

    Hi Hostafan1 - such a good point about not throwing plants away. Sometimes people kindly donate their unwanted plants to our community garden or to the school plant stall and when I redesigned our garden, any plants I didn't keep were freecycled, so they went to good homes!! ? 

  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700

    Working with nature and accepting the fact that you can't always have what you want and see. Plant according to your surroundings and soil type. A garden without watering and collecting rain water is the first step. Think about the kind of stones/slabs and where it is sourced. The trade in stone is damaging many developing countries and also the transport is causing uncessary air miles. In today's age, there is no need to get the real stone seen in the gardens of old. There are many concrete alternatives for laying flooring. Spent cocoa shells and woodbark as decorative flooring and mulch are ways to make a garden more natural looking too.

    Learning to grow herbs and then vegatables and fruits. This will in time teach us to understand nature and its connection with us. Too often, food is now so distant to growing, it allows us to get complacent and disconnected with nature. Think of the transport cost with fuel and pesticides cut out if we all did this. That means, areas where ecosystems where chemicals have destroyed the delicate balance can return and less reliant on fossil fuels.

  • dogwooddaysdogwooddays Posts: 258

    Thanks Borderline - such a great list of eco ideas in the garden. It think it's particularly important to source environmentally friendly materials for the garden - recycled products are good and also reclaiming old unused ones like bricks and stone. 

  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,530

    Register with Freecycle - it's like eBay without the money - to exchange spare plants, seeds, tools, landscaping materials etc.  But in my experience, you have to respond quickly to take up offers as the demand for garden stuff is keen.

  • dogwooddaysdogwooddays Posts: 258

    Hi Josusa47 - yes, I agree that freecycle is a great resource for donating unwanted plants and gardening equipment. When we redesigned our garden I freecycled all the unwanted plants and the people who were collecting  came and helped me dig them up. They all went to good homes. Also local community gardens and schools generally welcome plant donations. Next weekend I'm helping at our community garden open day and also running the plant stall at the school fete - both are very grateful for the plant domains we receive. ☺ 

  • dogwooddaysdogwooddays Posts: 258

    Thegardendesignstudent - pesticides is a really important issue - thanks for highlighting it. I guess if you get to know a local grower/nursery then it's easier to find out what the situation is with pesticides and to choose somewhere who doesn't use them. As I grow a lot of my own stock I'm more in control of which sees I use and how I grow them (organically and peat-free in my case) ? 

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