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Climate protection: How to design a climate-friendly garden

Drought and persistent heat in summer, mild and humid winters - the changes in climate are not only causing problems for forests, but also for gardens. High time for garden fans to adapt their own piece of greenery to the new conditions.

IGW: Mr. Kirsch, where is the best place to start if I want to make my garden more climate-friendly?

There are many big and small ideas for a climate-friendly garden. It's a good idea to start by looking at your starting conditions: How is your garden laid out? Is it sunny or shady? Is there enough wind protection? Plan from the outside in: At the edge, give nature a chance to flourish - for example, with a variegated, bird-friendly hedge of wild shrubs that protects your garden from drying out and soil erosion as a windbreak. Or plan a deadwood corner to create a habitat for the wood bee and many other small creatures. Inside the garden, you can then create different climate zones by creating depressions and hollows, for example. Here, water can collect and slowly seep away. The depressions also keep wind out, preventing the plants from drying out. A new trend here is a crater bed, which works with different climate zones.

Drought is definitely a big issue in Berlin-Brandenburg.

That's why it's a good idea to collect rainwater - in barrels, for example. This also benefits the plants, which tolerate the soft rainwater better than the chalky tap water in the capital region. Efficient irrigation systems, for example with drip irrigation, have also proven effective in bringing water directly to the roots in a sustainable way. In larger gardens, swimming ponds are in vogue, which then cool down the ambient temperature once again. Another tip to keep water in the garden: Mulch your beds with lawn clippings or shredded greenery to protect the soil from drying out.

What plants belong in a climate-friendly garden?

Bee- and insect-friendly plants have been on the market for several years. Climate-resilient varieties are also now available. When choosing plants, the most important thing is to make sure that the plant fits the location. Here, soil quality and light conditions play an important role. Let the horticultural retailer advise you on which plants are suitable for your garden. Go for wild shrubs and perennial perennials to make your garden sustainable. In the case of useful plants, there is now a good range of historical plants. But new cultivars of climate-tolerant plants are now also part of the range. Here you can make your own contribution to biodiversity.

Which potting soil is recommended?

Avoid peat as much as possible. This is because our peatlands are very important for binding CO2. Above all, pay attention to a change in watering and fertilizing behavior. The horticultural specialized trade advises you also here. You can produce good humus yourself in your own compost heap. Here you can use leftovers in the garden sensibly and leave the nutrients in the garden, so to speak. The compost heap is a central component of the climate-friendly garden and its own habitat for rhinoceros beetles and many others.

You can get more tips on climate protection in the garden from January 20 to 29, 2023 at the International Green Week.

Thomas Kirsch, Managing Director of the Federal Association of Retail Gardeners (BVE)

Thomas Kirsch is managing director of the Federal Association of Retail Gardeners (BVE) in the Central Horticultural Association (ZVG). This is an association of horticultural professional organizations and associations in Germany and represents the interests of around 50,000 horticultural companies in Germany.

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