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A green thumb for greener air

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It’s no secret that air quality, particularly in cities and built-up areas, is a growing issue. For example, the Guardian reported earlier this year that London had hit the legal limit of air pollution for the whole of the year in less than a month. According to the same report, around 40,000 deaths are caused every year by the staggering levels of air pollution in urban areas in the UK.

If you live in a larger city or built-up area, air pollution is likely a concern. But what can you do to protect yourself and help out your area?

Get out your trowel and come with us, as we join Compost Direct, suppliers of lawn top dressing, and venture into the garden to find out the best air-cleaning plants you can grow right now.

Gerbera daisies

Green doesn’t need to be the only colour on the quest to greener air! A recent study by NASA has provided a few colourful blooms for gardeners keen to clean the air.

Gerbera daisies are bonny, beautiful blooms that come in many different colours; white, orange, red, pink — whichever you pick, they’ll give your garden a splash of colour. These flowers love direct sunlight and a bit of space, so make sure not to leave them in a shady corner of your garden.

NASA states that these wonderful flowers are great for dealing with multiple air toxins, such as benzene.

English Ivy

A classic climbing plant, you might already have the hedera helix climbing up the walls of your house. Though it has a bad reputation in the States as being a weed, it can be a lovely addition to your garden if tended to.

The plant offers benefits for wildlife and for the air – Goldsmiths, University of London, states that the wide leaves of the common ivy traps particulates, which makes it a great choice for purifying the air.

Wallflower

If you’re looking for a little more colour for your garden, why not introduce the wallflower, also known as the Erysimum? Goldsmiths also names this plant as being akin to the common ivy for it’s particulate-cleansing power. These flowers have a bright display of petals during the first half of the year. You can grow wallflowers in many colours, with purple and yellow popular choices.

Conifers

Hedges are great for combatting air pollution, and Homes & Property recommends conifers for the job. Specifically, the western red cedar hedge is named as an idea conifer to plant in your garden. But if your garden is a little smaller, the publication also names the yew as a great alternative, citing its evergreen nature and easy trimming.

Practices

Of course, green gardening doesn’t end at what plants you have. You have to consider how you are tending to your garden as well.

SmilingGardener offers five great ways to reduce pollution in ways beyond planting shrubs and flowers:

  • Start composting. You can turn many waste products into compost to stop it going to the landfill.
  • Avoid corn gluten meal. SmilingGardener notes this meal is made up from genetically modified corn, so best to stay away from using it, if possible.
  • Quiet equipment. This one’s more for noise pollution, but it’s certainly an added bonus for the pollution-conscious gardener to take note of!
  • Stay away from using pesticides. This one is probably a given, but if you can avoid using chemicals on your garden, please do.
  • Consider indoors as well as outdoors. As well as planting outdoor plants to combat air toxicity, consider bringing in some houseplants to cleanse the air in your home.

Sources:

https://www.smilinggardener.com/introduction/5-unique-ways-to-decrease-pollution/

https://www.gold.ac.uk/news/phyto-sensor/

https://www.homesandproperty.co.uk/home-garden/gardening/clean-air-save-your-home-from-harmful-pollution-with-clever-garden-hedge-choices-a114961.html

https://www.greenpeace.org.uk/reduce-your-exposure-to-air-pollution/

http://www.itv.com/news/london/2016-10-12/how-london-is-embracing-the-vertical-garden-or-living-wall/

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/howtogrow/11035106/Green-walls-how-to-grow-a-garden-vertically.html

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/jan/30/london-reaches-legal-air-pollution-limit-just-one-month-into-the-new-year

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/flowers/gerbera-daisy/growing-gerbera-daisies.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedera_helix

http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/plants/plant_finder/plant_pages/11278.shtml

http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/plants/plant_finder/plant_pages/25.shtml

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