National Trust guide to truly green garden with just eight simple steps

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With four-fifths of all homes having a garden and more than two-fifths of Britons (44 percent) interested in gardening, having green fingers really can be green. Among the tried and tested environmentally-friendly practices used in more than 180 of the Trust’s gardens are using peat-free compost, installing water butts to collect rainwater and reducing plastic.

Rebecca Bevan, who advises the charity’s gardens on environmental sustainability said the Trust wants to be carbon net zero by 2030.

The senior national specialist for cultivated plants said: “What we can do in gardens is just a small part of that.

“But it is worth doing, and a lot of it is also what we know domestic gardeners can do to make a difference.

“With the lead up to [UN summit] COP26, we just know everybody is thinking and hearing about climate change and is probably feeling like it’s something out of their control.

“We’re keen to remind people that there is plenty they can do to help to make a difference.

“Britain is famous for its gardens. It’s said that about 30million Britons are interested in gardening and that in cities about 20 percent of the land is made up of domestic gardens.

“So actually if domestic gardeners are thinking responsibly about the plants they buy, the water they use, the plastic used in gardens, composting, avoiding herbicides and cutting down on fossil fuel use, that is all collectively going to make quite a difference.”

For example, gardeners could choose perennial plants like rosemary or thyme for their pots rather than seasonal bedding plants and let grass grow a little longer with daisies and clovers allowed to flower in it.

Visitors can see the Trust’s sustainable gardening in action at all of its gardens, including the orchard meadow at Lytes Cary Manor, in Somerset, the organic gardens at Nunnington Hall, North Yorkshire, and the no-dig walled garden at Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire.

However, Ms Bevan warns there will be changes to our gardens.

She said: “It’s tricky to predict what they will be exactly because when we were first talking about climate change, we all thought straight away, ‘Oh it will all be exotic plants that will grow really well in our milder summers’.

“But a lot of these exotic plants don’t really like wet winters.”

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