Why telling people to cut corners to beat cutbacks could ruin the garden

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The council’s recent “Connect” issue included an article “How to reduce, reuse, recycle”, no doubt since the kerb-side collection of garden waste ceased last month.

Because of the controversial removal of this service, people are now faced with making their own arrangements. Not so difficult with a car, but for others they have to think of other ways.

Depending on the size of garden and what is under cultivation, at certain times there could be a lot to dispose of.

Granted there are useful tips in the article, but several suggestions have raised a few eyebrows.

“Choose plants that produce much less waste. Perennial flowers keep growing for years but you need to dig up annual bedding plants every autumn” – gardeners will grow the flowers of their choice and perennials will not give the bold splashes of colour that people love throughout the summer.

Also, the many outlets in the area selling bedding plants will not like the suggestion they should not be bought. People who plant up containers to brighten up a patio, or hanging baskets or window boxes to add colour, will prefer summer flowers such as begonias, geraniums, trailing begonias, cascading lobelia, the choice is endless. Perennials are not for these situations.

“Reduce the volume of grass clippings. Do not fertilise the lawn. In dry weather leave clippings on the lawn” – a healthy, good-looking lawn is the ideal complement to summer plantings, and the reason most cutters come with a box is that a build-up of grass will encourage moss, increase thatch and not allow air to the roots.

“Use grass clippings as a mulch around shrubs and trees” – Yes, but within reason, not all season. Who wants borders covered in dying, smelly grass? The discerning gardener knows clippings are not used if treated with weed/moss killer but, of course, gardeners who cherish their lawn are recommended not to feed it!

Successful composting is only achieved if one knows exactly how and with space to accommodate various stages. Composting has proved a challenge to many and with mixed success.