One hobby that has grown out of the recent Covid-19 pandemic is gardening. With having to spend so much time at home during lockdown, it’s no surprise that many New Zealanders have begun putting more effort into beautifying and maintaining their available outdoor space.
A key consideration within this trend has been how best to ensure an eco-friendly garden. Although on the surface such an endeavour might seem redundant, the reality is that despite gardens being inherently ‘natural’, aspects such as water use, the carbon footprint associated particularly with maintenance, plant choice (indigenous versus alien), and the impact of things like pesticides and herbicides must still be taken into account.
As part of this shift towards more eco-friendly gardens, many New Zealanders are moving away from merely pretty, more formal gardens in favour of something more functional. For example, it’s not uncommon to now find patches of even the smallest urban gardens dedicated to growing vegetables, fruits, herbs, or even edible flowers. There’s also a growing trend towards planting flowers that are especially attractive to bees. And wild gardens are gaining in popularity, where the use of indigenous plants and natural watering systems promote both the interplay of wildlife and limit the excessive need for carbon-heavy maintenance.
One possibly surprising trend has been the increased move away from natural to artificial grass. While at first this could seem ‘counter-eco-friendly’, the fact that artificial lawns require basically no watering and remove the need for all fossil fuel- and/or pesticide-heavy maintenance play in their favour. These lawns are also easily combined with more natural elements like flower or vegetable gardens and can even promote water capturing and recycling when a good drainage system is implemented.
Regardless of a garden’s size or location, there is an eco-friendly gardening option for everyone to try out this spring.