Organic Gardening

DaisyDid you know that British wild flowers and wildlife are under threat from modern growing methods? Since the second world war chemicals and machinery have changed the face of the British countryside.

Are you ready for some shocking facts?
  • We have lost 97% of our wildflower meadows since the 1950’s.
  • We have just 50 species of butterfly and 75% of them have declined in the past 10 years.
  • We have 25 species of bumblebee, 8 are threatened and 2 already extinct.
  • Wild birds such as the Sky Lark are in decline.

Butterfly

Prince Charles is one of our leading authorities on Organic Farming. He is a landowner and farmer in Cornwall so he knows what he’s talking about. As heir to the British throne he has significant clout yet thirty years ago he was ridiculed for his so called  ‘eccentric’ views on land management. Despite the negative press he persisted in banging the organic drum and eventually people listened to him. He was instrumental in spreading the word that organic farms are:

  • Havens for wildlife with wild areas for food and shelter.
  • Diverse eco systems which keep pests and diseases to a minimum.
  • Brilliant at producing healthy food that’s safe to eat.

Since then many farmers have switched to organic methods. Most care about growing healthy food and encouraging wildlife back onto their land. It’s true that some of them are motivated by government grants to set aside their land for wildlife. Others have more of a commitment to British wildlife and wildflowers. What’s more there is a higher demand for locally produced organic food. The British public know what’s good for them! Today there are specific international standards for farmers and growers to abide by if they wish to market their products as organic.

So what about organic gardening?
Just like farmers and landowners, private gardeners are free to choose their own growing methods in their own gardens.
Switching to organic methods means making a few changes:

  • No harmful chemicals so home grown produce such as fruit, herbs and vegetables are safe to eat and cut flowers are safe to bring into the house.
  • Safe havens for wildlife with plants for food and habitat providing a warm welcome for birds, bees, butterflies and hedgehogs.

Hedgehog

What’s the best way to go organic?
1) Stop using chemicals.    2) Grow plants that are good for wildlife.

It’s that easy!

I believe that there’s no such thing as a safe garden chemical.
That’s a sweeping statement I know but I struggle to understand how something can kill one creature without having a detrimental effect on others. I want to protect my family, our pets and our garden wildlife. Besides I’m highly suspicious!

Ladybird-and-Aphids-on Teasel

So I stopped using chemicals years ago and quickly discovered that wildlife soon finds a balance. Each year I have a colonies of aphids for a short while then they are devoured by ladybirds and small garden birds such as blue tits and long tailed tits. I’ve learned to love some weeds and I even tolerate nettles in places now too.

Each year I try new organic methods. I’m slowly figuring out what works and what doesn’t work for us. This year I’m growing masses of wildflowers from seed to provide food for caterpillars, pollen for bees and nectar for our beautiful butterflies.

Are you an Organic Gardener?   Happy Gardening         Gillian 🙂

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