Bord Gáis Energy and Peter Dowdall inspire you to Imagine a better way to enjoy your garden
Expert gardener, Peter Dowdall reveals his top tips on how to make your garden a sustainable sanctuary this summer
New research by Bord Gáis Energy, the leading services and energy provider, reveals that almost half of us (49%) say our relationship with our home has changed over the last year with 58% saying they now value their home now more than ever.
However, it’s not just indoors where we’re starting to think differently about the spaces we live in. Of the 46% of us planning to make changes to our homes this year, upgrading the garden and outdoor spaces came in top of the list with over half of respondents keen to spruce up the shrubbery, followed by a desire amongst 41% of respondents to make their property more sustainable.
Following a long winter indoors, the garden has become an oasis in homes across the nation with almost two thirds (63%) of us saying the garden is the place where we relax and now entertain, with 31% of us taking to dining alfresco in our garden.
To inspire householders to get the most from their home, Bord Gáis Energy has teamed up with expert gardener and sustainability advocate Peter Dowdall to put together top tips on how to make your garden your very own sustainable sanctuary at home this summer.
- Consider colour
Using plants which bloom at different times of the year not only provides a food source for the pollinating insects throughout the seasons, but it also makes our gardens much more beautiful over a longer period of time allowing you to enjoy your outdoor spaces all year round.
To create a relaxing and beautiful space throughout the year, imagine how you want your garden to look at different times of the year. Think about planting some spring flowering bulbs in the autumn, such as Crocus, Muscari, Daffodils and Tulips, followed up by Alliums and summer flowering perennials. These will extend the season of colour right into late autumn.
2. Find the balance
A good garden is all about maintaining the natural balance. This means allowing a wide diversity of species to thrive in the garden to protect against the unnatural build-up of one species. The best example of this is slugs. Hedgehogs and larger birds are natural predators for this common garden pest, but many people apply slug pellets containing Metaldehyde which will kill the slugs and snails but are toxic to their predators. This means the slug population will increase again faster than their predators, meaning the natural balance has been damaged. These pellets are also toxic to domestic pets and humans.
There are plenty of environmentally sound ways to control slugs with pellets containing Ferric phosphate both effective and safe to surrounding wildlife. Barrier products range from crushed eggshells, coffee grounds and other everyday items to slate mulch, copper tape and even pellets made from sheep's wool. Barrier products create a layer on top of the soil which slugs, and snails cannot get over and thus you are leaving a healthy food source for the birds and hedgehogs, whilst keeping your plants damage free.
3. Waste not, want not
Both kitchen and garden waste can easily be composted to provide you with a rich source of fresh garden soil. The trick is to make sure you add a good mixture of ingredients and don't simply fill your compost bin with one material. I like to use a compost tumbler; these rotate a bit like a lottery draw drum and makes turning and agitating the composting material very easy
4. Feed the bees
We simply couldn’t exist without them and many are now under threat, so it’s important that we use plants in the gardens which will provide them with food. Avoid intensively hybridized, F1 hybrid bedding plants as these are useless to bees in terms of pollen and nectar. Simple flowers such as single daisies and dahlias are better for bees than intricate double-petalled flowers. If you can leave a patch of your lawn area to grow wild, then this will provide a nutrient-rich meadow area for bees and other wildlife to feed and to nest.
Imagine a better way at home event
To inspire householders, Bord Gáis Energy has teamed up with a panel of well-known home experts - TV gardener Peter Dowdall, award winning and internationally renowned interior designer Suzie McAdam and former resident quantity surveyor on RTÉ’s Room to Improve, Lisa O’Brien to host ‘Imagine a better way at home’, a virtual event taking place on Wednesday 21st July from 12pm – 1pm.
The panel of experts will share their top tips and expert advice on how to get the most out of your
redesigns and renovation projects whether you’re imagining redoing your garden to trying to make
your home more sustainable.
The event is free and to secure your place, simply register at http://www.imagineabetterway.eventbrite.ie/
About Bord Gáis Energy
Bord Gáis Energy is an energy and services supplier in the Republic of Ireland. The company has been in operation since 1976 and currently supplies energy and services to over 700,000 business and residential customers. In 2014, Bord Gáis Energy became part of the global Centrica plc Group.