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Cleaning the air around you with your garden

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

 

It’s well-known that bigger cities have more pollution than the countryside, that’s no shock to anyone. More people means more cars, more fumes, et cetera. But you might be shocked to hear just how much more pollution – according to the Guardian, London filled its yearly legal limit of air pollution for the entire year in less than 30 days. A whole year’s worth of pollution in such a short time doesn’t come without a cot either; toxic air is attributed as a factor in around 40,000 deaths every year in Britain.

If you’re a gardener in a big city such as London, what can you do to help tackle the problem?

It’s time to get in the garden to help keep the air clean! We’re joined by supplier of compost bags, Compost Direct, to see what you garden can do to become an eco-warrior.

Hedges: conifers

For dealing with air pollution, hedges are a good choice and the conifer comes with a recommendation from Homes & Property. Specifically, the western red cedar hedge is named as an idea conifer to plant in your garden. But if your garden is a little smaller, the publication also names the yew as a great alternative, citing its evergreen nature and easy trimming.

Climbing plant: English ivy

It’s quite likely that you already have an ivy plant crawling up the walls of your home. Though it has a bad reputation in the States as being a weed, it can be a lovely addition to your garden if tended to. The plant offers benefits for wildlife and for the air – Goldsmiths, University of London, states that the wide leaves of the common ivy traps particulates, which makes it a great choice for purifying the air.

Colourful flowers: gerbera daisies

Red, orange, and pink are the new green! A recent study by NASA has provided a few colourful blooms for gardeners keen to clean the air.

Gerbera daisies are a fantastic way to add a sprinkle of colour into your garden. White, orange, red, pink — whichever you pick, they’ll give your garden a splash of colour. These flowers love direct sunlight and a bit of space, so make sure not to leave them in a shady corner of your garden. NASA even states that these wonderful flowers are great for dealing with multiple air toxins, such as benzene.

Even more colour: wallflowers

If you’re looking for even more colour in your flowers, look no further than the gorgeous wallflower. Goldsmiths also names this plant as being akin to the common ivy for its particulate-cleansing power. These flowers have a bright display of petals during the first half of the year. You can grow wallflowers in many colours, with purple and yellow popular choices.

 

Beyond the petals

It’s not just the plants within your garden that can help with air purification. You have to consider how you are tending to your garden as well.

Here’s five great ways to amend your gardening habits to create cleaner air, from SmilingGardener:

 

  • Quiet equipment. This one’s more for noise pollution, but it’s certainly an added bonus for the pollution-conscious gardener to take note of!
  • Consider indoors as well as outdoors. As well as planting outdoor plants to combat air toxicity, consider bringing in some houseplants to cleanse the air in your home.
  • Start composting. You can turn many waste products into compost to stop it going to the landfill.
  • Avoid corn gluten meal. SmilingGardener notes this meal is made up from genetically modified corn, so best to stay away from using it, if possible.
  • Stay away from using pesticides. This one is probably a given, but if you can avoid using chemicals on your garden, please do.

 

 

Sources:

https://www.smilinggardener.com/introduction/5-unique-ways-to-decrease-pollution/

https://www.gold.ac.uk/news/phyto-sensor/

https://www.homesandproperty.co.uk/home-garden/gardening/clean-air-save-your-home-from-harmful-pollution-with-clever-garden-hedge-choices-a114961.html

https://www.greenpeace.org.uk/reduce-your-exposure-to-air-pollution/

http://www.itv.com/news/london/2016-10-12/how-london-is-embracing-the-vertical-garden-or-living-wall/

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/howtogrow/11035106/Green-walls-how-to-grow-a-garden-vertically.html

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/jan/30/london-reaches-legal-air-pollution-limit-just-one-month-into-the-new-year

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/flowers/gerbera-daisy/growing-gerbera-daisies.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedera_helix

http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/plants/plant_finder/plant_pages/11278.shtml

http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/plants/plant_finder/plant_pages/25.shtml

 

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