The Garden Organic Backyard Biodiversity Garden
Every year an exciting collection of gardens come to life in a celebration of how imagination and creativity can transform your outdoor space. It’s an unbeatable way to get ideas for your own garden. Show Gardens are judged to the highest standards of design, planting and inspiration.
Find out more about The Garden Organic Backyard Biodiversity Garden below…
Designed by Emma O’Neill, Garden Organic
Bugs, birds and beneficial plants are the central themes in Garden Organic’s Backyard Biodiversity Show Garden. The organic gardening charity’s head gardener Emma O’Neill has designed a new biodiverse show garden for 2023, which brings together biodiversity-boosting elements and ideas to help gardeners welcome more wildlife into their back gardens.
The garden includes sensational sustainable zones to maximise wildlife and mitigate climate change, such as:
Dividing the show garden down the middle is a permeable pathway with gravel between honeycomb paving. Planted up with herbs, it allows rainwater to drain slowly and naturally while providing habitats. A dry, gravel garden is planted with drought-tolerant plants such silver-leaved perennials and grasses. And even the water butt has a planter on top to maximise growing space and act as a sponge. The Backyard Biodiversity Garden design also incorporates clay irrigation pots, based on a technique used in hot countries. The pots are buried into beds and filled with water, which allows moisture to seep gently through the clay providing a slow-release water source at the roots.
The idea of a ‘weed’ is reimagined with a pond surrounded by beneficial plants such as dead nettles and dandelions. Nearby a short flower lawn is bursting with red clover and trefoil, which shows how conventional lawns can be injected with colour and scent to encourage insects. Plus, there’s a low lavender hedge and British native hedge, alongside bug hotels and log piles, to provide plenty of shelter.
A perennial vegetable bed demonstrates how these low maintenance, long-lasting plants allow gardeners to buy less in and extend the harvest. Plants include tasty tubers such as skirret, yacon and oca. There’s globe and Jerusalem artichokes, and Egyptian walking onions, with their tiny clusters of bulbils that regrow each year. Fruit bushes such as blackcurrant, gooseberry and raspberry provide rich-picking for puddings – and for birds!
“We all need to start developing biodiverse, sustainable gardens that can weather climate change – and work with nature and not against it,” says Emma. “We hope our design shows that with small steps and little cost, gardeners can make changes that will encourage more life into their gardens. And the more friends a garden has, the better for biodiversity and the planet.”