Bees, birds, hedgehogs, butterflies – our gardens are home to a wealth of wildlife.
However the products gardeners use can impact not only on the animals and insects that call their plot home, but also on the wider environment.
Now B&Q has put together a list of alternative, far less harmful products which are really easy to switch to. So now gardeners can continue to take excellent care of their outdoor spaces while also being kinder to the environment.
Steve Guy, market director for Outdoor at B&Q, shares the six simple swaps all gardeners can make!
Get Wise With Wool And Clever With Copper
“Slugs can wreak havoc on your lovingly potted plants and leafy annuals,” Steve sympathises. “However many poisonous repellents contain metaldehyde. This chemical can cause significant harm to wildlife – and can pollute rivers too.
“B&Q recently announced it has stopped selling products that contain metaldehyde and replaced them with environmentally-friendly alternatives.
“Wool-based mats and copper tapes offer a harm-free, environmentally-friendly alternative to poisonous products. They also help deter slugs from spoiling your crops and flowers.
“As well as acting as a great repellent, wool biodegrades over time, adding nutrients to your soil.
“Copper tape is a fuss-free and long lasting solution, as slugs and snails dislike its metallic properties. Placing copper tape on the pots that house your plants acts as the perfect barrier to hungry pests.”
- Verve Slug Barrier products: Tub, £8.33, Mat, £4.63, Box, £4.18, Copper Tape, £4.12, Slug & Snail Tape, £3, all B&Q
Conditioning Is Key
“Soil conditioners are a great way to ensure the long-lasting quality of your soil ensuring that your plants and shrubs are fully nourished,” explains Steve. “Soil conditioners are quicker and more effective than digging multi-purpose compost into the soil; natural conditioners such as horse manure are kind to the environment too.”
- Verve Soil Conditioner and Horse Manure Soil Conditioner, both £4.37 for 50L, B&Q
Plant For Pollinators
“The lovely plants we cultivate in our garden also act as a source of nourishment and shelter for much wildlife, in an increasingly urban world,” Steve points out.
“Bees and butterflies have to travel further and further between areas that are suitable for them to feed and nest, and safe spaces with suitable flowers are harder to come by.
“To give the bees and butterflies a helping hand, why not plant some lavender in your garden? Its fragrant purple flowers attract insects and bees, and it is also easy to grow.”
- Lavender plants, 3 for £15, B&Q
“Exchanging harsh, chemical fertilisers for organic alternatives is a simple swap that can improve the health of your whole garden, starting from the root up,” Steve continues.
“Not only are organic fertilisers better for soil microbes, they can also make your plants last longer, leading to a healthier garden for your plants.”
- Verve Safe by Nature Plant Food products: Granules, £8.07, and Liquid 1L, £4.12, both B&Q
“Lawns add luscious colour and texture to our gardens, and are also a perfect play-space for children, pets and wildlife,” Steve says. “Swapping a chemical lawn treatment for an organic alternative is a failsafe way to enjoy peace of mind while watching your green garden grow.”
- Aftercut Safe lawn treatment £20, and 150m quantity £10.46, both B&Q
If you don’t have a garden or can’t get outside easily, Steve has encouraging words for you too.
“Perfect for those who don’t have an outside space, houseplants are top of the list for chic and on-trend interiors. They are also great for improving the air quality of our homes.
“Plants such as Aloe Vera and Devil’s Ivy not only look great, but their large green leaves help to reduce the levels of toxins and pollutants in the indoor air.”
- Devil’s Ivy £16, Aloe Vera £5, B&Q
Do you have your own ideas for easy eco swaps in the garden? You could win £25 if your tip is featured on our gardening pages! Find our contact details in My Weekly magazine.