With Earth Day celebrating it's 50th anniversary this April, we have been thinking about how spending time at home is a great way to evaluate how we can each improve our sustainable lifestyle and be more active in helping our environment.
"On Earth Day, April 22, 2020, we have two crises: One is the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The other is a slowly building disaster for our climate.
We can, will and must solve both challenges. The world was not prepared for the novel coronavirus. But we still have time to prepare — in every part of the world — for the climate crisis."
With beautiful weather sweeping across the UK, what better way to get involved than taking simple steps to turn you garden into a little wildlife sanctuary.
Here are our top tips to build a happy home for your new little friends...
1. Be Kind to our Bees
Did you know that many species of Bees are on the brink of being extinct in the UK? It is reported we have already lost around 17 species including the Great Yellow Bumble Bee, Potter Flower Bee and the Cliff Mason Bee.
So what can we do?
Lots Of Lavender
If you have a garden try planting some Bee friendly plants. Lavender is a great perennial plant that the bees love. It also looks beautiful in your country garden, year after year. Other Bee friendly plants include Catmint or Agastache.
A Little Home
You can buy or make a little insect hotel using hollow stems such as bamboo stems. Hang in a bush or tree to provide a little home for bees and insects.
Another way you can help out your bee-utiful friends is by always buying sustainable honey from local sellers.
2. Compost your Waste
If you have a garden, you really should be composting your food waste. It is a great way to produce nutritious compost for you garden as well as being more sustainable for the environment. The less green garden waste and food scraps going into landfill the better!
3. Grow Your Own
Staying at home could mean you take up a new hobby. Why not use this time to grow your own vegetables? April and May are great times to sow outdoor seeds for vegetables such as beetroot, carrots, lettuce, leeks, and radish. This is a great way to start living a more sustainable lifestyle and the satisfaction of growing your own food is like no other!
See RHS for more advise on setting up your home growing.
4. Think Sustainable
Being sustainable and thinking of the environment is another important part of wildlife friendly gardening. Choose materials that are safe for your wildlife but are also sustainably sourced.
- Avoid using peat compost as the extraction of peat is destroying vital habitats in our wild. Try using your own compost which is rich in nutrients. If buying compost, look for peat free mixes. Instead loam mixes are great for your plants!
- Give the tap a rest and save rainwater in water-butts and barrels.
- Recycle wherever possible. Use reclaimed, old materials when building raised borders and other garden structures. Old pallets and scaffold planks can make great materials for building.
- Avoid using pesticides and toxic chemicals in your garden. It can be easily done so just read the bottles carefully for patio cleaning fluids or fertilisers. Shop around for chemical free.
5. Get The Whole Family Involved
One of the best things we can do to promote a more sustainable lifestyle at home is by teaching the whole family to do so. Whilst the kids are not at school, what better chance to teach them about gardening and how to look after our wildlife.
Why not try some of these activities:
- Make an insect home and take note of all the insects and bugs you attract.
- Do a spot of bird watching. Whilst in the garden or on a walk, what birds do you see? Now is a great time to look out for baby birds and chicks. Make a chart of what you discover.
- Grow your own. Let them take pride in looking after their veg plot and reap the rewards of some fresh and tasty organic produce!