The garden as sustainable space
6 Jan 2020
How can one make a contribution towards the preservation of nature with the own garden? – Photo: suju / pixabay
"Sustainable gardens" is the focal theme of spoga+gafa 2020. In the scope of various events, lectures and on special exhibition areas it is to be demonstrated how a garden can be designed in a resource-saving and eco-friendly manner.
The word sustainability was used for the first time in the 18th Century in the forestry sector. At the time, the idea was born to only remove an amount of wood from the forests equal to that which could regrow in the same space of time. Through the Club of Rome the term took on a wider meaning in 1972: The members made reference to the finite nature of the world's resources and demanded a more conscious approach. Today, under sustainable action we understand taking the environmental aspects into account on an equal footing with the social and economic perspectives, so that the next generations will be able to live on this earth under the same conditions as today's generation.
Stefan Lohrberg, Director of spoga+gafa
"Sustainability is a very complex theme. Many different minor and major factors interlock here. Nevertheless, within our environment each of us can make a contribution here - also in one's own garden," commented Stefan Lohrberg, Director spoga+gafa. "At the coming international garden trade fair in Cologne we would like to show that sustainable garden design doesn't have to be time-consuming and complicated and that there are meanwhile many corresponding innovative ideas and products on the market. Organic gardens in the strictest sense of the word are not going to be the centre of attention of the planned focal theme, but rather more the sustainable aspects that can be put into practice in every garden. It is about the issues: How can one implement resources sparingly and in a sensible way and how can one perhaps even make a contribution towards the preservation of nature with one's own garden?"
Plants, materials and technology
Those, who would like to manager their garden sustainably, should take a look at nature itself: Material cycles are a matter of course here. A leaf falls from the tree, decays on the ground and becomes nourishment for the tree again, so that it can form new leaves. In the past there was a compost heap in every garden, where lawn cuttings, brushwood and kitchen waste was collected.
Bacteria, worms and fungi transformed these organic substances into useful humus. Implemented correctly, the humus not only improves the soil structure significantly, it also optimally provides the garden's plants with nutrients. In this way, on the one hand it takes a load off the waste disposal sites and on the other hand the implementation of fertilisers can be reduced. There are other possibilities today for garden owners, who don't want to have classic, open compost heaps right next to the house, i.e. special thermo boxes. The organic materials are transformed into humus exceptionally fast in these boxes and thanks to their good insulation they are completely odourless. They come in different sizes so that they can also be implemented in small city gardens or even on the balcony.
Particularly the vital resource water shouldn't be wasted in a sustainable garden. – Photo: GARDENA
Particularly the vital resource water shouldn't be wasted in a sustainable garden. This is why rainwater is to be used for irrigating plants instead of tap water. There is a large selection of rain barrels for catching and collecting the rain, which are not only practical, but also extremely decorative. It is no problem for people, who don't want to lug a watering can around: The installation of automatic irrigation systems can also help spare water here. Because they can be programmed so that they are activated precisely at those times that are the most effective and when the evaporation of water is at its lowest. Many smart systems are equipped with sensors today, which measure the humidity of the soil and regulate the irrigation of the lawn and the flower beds optimally and independently. It is of course ideal if rainwater is collected in (underground) tanks for such automatic systems. "So, modern technology and sustainability don't rule each other out. On the contrary: Many technologies can help reach the goals," stated Lohrberg. "Those, who want to save electricity in the garden, rely on solar energy for the lighting or for recharging batter-run appliances. There are even already robot mowers that are powered accordingly."
Stefan Lohrberg, Director of spoga+gafa
Last, but not least if the plant arrangements are well-considered, the water consumption can also be reduced. If one mostly opts for plants that are naturally used to warm climates for sunny areas, one only has to water them now and again even in hot summers. Those who rely on diversity and a wide range of plant species, make an important contribution towards the healthy sustainment of our ecosystem. A sufficient array of blossoms is important for bees, bumblebees and co., which offer them nutritious pollen and nectar. By planting domestic wild shrubs one creates a habitat for many types of birds and insects, where they can find plenty of places to hide and nest as well as a plentiful offer of nourishment.
Whether garden furniture, plant pots, fences or sandpits and slides for children - today the consumer has a large selection of sustainable materials for all of these products. Wood is a natural and regrowing raw material. Spruce, beech or oak trees mostly originate from domestic forests. Those, who prefer more waterproof tropical woods for the garden furniture, should make sure they originate from plantations and that no rainforests have been deforested. Various environmental seals verify this. In the meantime, there is also furniture that is produced from recycled teak wood. But more and more plastic products are at least partly produced in a resource-saving manner, if not completely from recycling material. Hence, they also contribute towards preventing the further growth of the piles of waste.