Easy green gardening

The garden industry is pretty green already, it's certainly streets ahead of the big supermarkets, particularly when it comes to packaging. But there's no room for complacency and all it takes is for people to read the labels or ask few questions before buying

Dobbies garden full of Meadowmat flowers

Think transparent green PET when you're buying bedding plants...then you can be sure the packaging is fully recyclable and is made from recycled PET, not virgin plastic. Recycled cardboard pots are also, obviously, terrific. Packaging maker Modiform says consumers need to ask their garden centres to ensure plants are sold in eco packaging - and point out that many already do so. Pictured above: a lovely sunny garden filled with meadow flowers, photo courtesy of Dobbies Garden Centres

Whether you're fortunate enough to have a large garden, or just have space for a few window boxes, it's really important we do our bit for biodiversity. That flower filled pot on your windowsill can help bees and butterflies, and having as many plant filled containers as possible on your balcony can help lower temperatures inside and out! 

Gardening isn't a particularly cheap activity so plan what you need to do and have the word eco top of mind. There are a few key 'rules' which most of us know ...so to reiterate:

Buy peat free compost.  No peat, not ever ever ever. Good brands to look for are: RocketGro, Dalefoot Composts, Heart of Eden and Westland John Innes composts 

Harvest rain water. It's raining a lot in the UK so don't let that water go to waste. If you have a house or a flat and access the down pipes, then you can have a water butt. The RHS has a good section here on how to collect rainwater.

And if you want to be a bit more creative and pond orientated with rainwater, then check out The Dipping Tank Company. Who wouldn't want a dipping tank frankly..so much prettier than a water butt!

As mentioned, think about pots - and there is a lot of green plant pot manufacturing going on, whether it's using recycled PET bottles, discarded fishing nets, recycled rubber and not to forget wool....Wool Pots offer a great alternative for those to eschew any type of plastic and their products are very affordable. Hortiwool isn't a pot but it's a very useful roll of thick wool which can be used for many garden purposes, for example to line hanging baskets and to protect plants from snails and slugs and every other bug than munches gleefully through bedding plants.


Wool pots are a very good alternative to plastic
The Dipping Tank Company offer attractive alternatives to water butts
Heart of Eden peat free composts
Elho uses recycled plastic which is fully recyclable. Its strawberry planter is a good idea
Hortiwool has many uses in the garden
Line hanging baskets with Hortiwool

For recycled rubber products for the garden, the Tierra Verde containers from Primeur are excellent...tough and attractive. They also do paving 'slabs' and decking.  Recycled plastic pots are becoming easy to find in garden centres and one big, well known brand that champions recycled plastic is Elho, which has a wide variety of products including it's wonderful balcony planters.

Earthy Sustainable is a company that uses recycled agricultural waste to make pots, planters and bird feeders in a variety of colours, and products are vegan, long lasting with a low carbon footprint. See their website to find stockists.

Garden tools

Go for quality as pieces will last..British brand Burgon & Ball has been making tools since 1730, while Japanese brand Niwaki has an excellent range of very stylish, precision-focused tools and you can't go wrong with Spear & Jackson and Bulldog Tools. For larger items such as lawn mowers, Stiga and Stihl are good, while German brand Bosch has very good plug-in and cordless tools for strimming, cutting hedges and trimming high branches.

Garden features

If you have a small garden you might think fountains are not for you..This is where you might be interested in a company called Hydria Life which brings water features to gardens or balconies not matter how compact. You don't need to have anything plumbed in, just fill the pot with water and use the remote control to activate it. Read up on it...prices from £99.


Hydria Life makes having a water feature in the garden possible for all
Violas from Elizabeth Macgregor in Dumfries & Galloway
Dobbies bamboo grow light ..get your house plants thriving
Hotbin composters use heat to make compost more quickly.

Seeds and plants

Choose British grown plants where possible if you live in the UK...Elizabeth Macregor Nursery in Dumfries & Galloway offers a wonderful array of flowers and shrubs grown in its greenhouses, which this family-run business sends out usually in March. Premier Seeds Direct has a huge range of seeds and bulbs and is certified organic, while Roots Plants also offers a fabulous selection. Dutch company Rijnbeek Perennials also has a large range of bare root plants.

Good ideas

Dobbies have a new range of grow lights, including LED rings for orchids, (£16.99), and lights to encourage houseplants to grow - the bamboo grow light, for example, costs £39.99.

And for compost enthusiasts, well there's hot yoga and there's hot compost.. check out Hotbin and get your compost faster!

Wildlife charities 

The natural world is being badly damaged by climate change and development and conservation charities needs our support. Plantlife, a charity set up by naturalist David Bellamy, is working hard to protect plants and fungi here in the UK and around the world, so do consider joining them. The Woodland Trust cares about our woodlands, while the Greenfingers Charity builds lovely gardens for children's hospices.