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How to make your garden more eco-friendly

How to Make Your Garden More Eco-Friendly

You’re probably aware that the environment is a pretty hot topic at the moment. And you’d be forgiven for thinking that just having a garden makes you pretty eco-friendly already, but like everything we as humans do, our garden has an impact. But don’t worry, there are many different ways that you can improve upon the impact your garden has.

Don’t Buy New

Your garden might be made up of plants, but it also probably consists of a patio or decking, fencing or walls, furniture, pots and more. That’s where you can make a difference – instead of buying new, you can buy something that’s been reused or recycled, and you’ll know that the origin, extraction, manufacture and installation is that little bit more eco-friendly. Look for recycled concrete or plastic for your decking or fencing, as it can be pretty convincing when it’s moulded to look like wood. Places like ebay, freecycle or preloved have all sorts, from furniture to old tin baths, gnomes, buckets – anything and everything that could be put to good use in your garden. Anything that you’re thinking of buying for your garden, you can reduce the impact it has by buying recycled or reused.

Conserve Water

One important element for a lush, green garden is water. But where that water comes from and how you use it is important too. Capitalise on the water that comes from the sky on a very regular basis here in the UK and get yourself a rainwater butt. Collect and store this water though-out the year and you’ll conserve water, reduce your water bills and lower your carbon footprint. You can conserve water by making sure that you are watering your plants. You don’t have to know how each plant likes to be watered, you can simply check the soil, see if it’s damp and if it’s dry, then it should be watered. Only watering plants in the evening – this way the plant can retain more water with its oxygen and nutrients.

Avoid Chemicals

It’s tempting to go straight to the strong stuff when it comes to garden pests, but they can cause harm to other living creatures higher up the food chain. Bees, for instance, might get nectar from that weed you just sprayed with weed killer, and unsurprisingly, it’s not good for bees either! Instead, opt for the natural remedy. For instance, if you’re battling slugs, use copper rings or 2 pence pieces to discourage them. Whatever your ailment, there’ll be a more eco-friendly option for you.

Encourage Wildlife

We’ve already written about encouraging wildlife into your garden (read the full article here), and it definitely has eco-benefits. Think about some of the things that animals need to live – food, water & shelter and consider what kind of wildlife you want in your garden. If you want more insects, consider a variety of native plants, and you’ll entice lots of butterflies and bees. Install an insect hotel for them to live in, as well as a woodpile for those who like a bit of dead and decaying wood. Bird boxes, bird feeders and bird baths will all make your garden more appealing to birds too!

Grow Your Own Food

Growing your own food is great in a number of ways. It means that you’re not eating food that’s been flown across the world, it’s cheaper, and it will taste better too! It doesn’t really matter how much space you have, you’ll be able to plant something! Container gardens are a great place to start, especially if you’ve got limited space. There are plenty of herbs, vegetables and even some fruits work well in containers.

There are lots of different ways to make your garden more eco-friendly, and these ideas just scratch the surface, but it’s a great place to start.

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What Plants are Poisonous to Dogs?

What Plants are Poisonous to Dogs?

It’s easy to forget when creating an aesthetically pleasing garden that plants can be poisonous to both pets and people.

Generally, we look for plants that we think are pretty or interesting, that complement our garden style and other plants that we’ve chosen, and it’s easy to forget that they might be a risk to our pet’s health. Plants such as deadly nightshade, hemlock or lethal mushrooms are often the first things to spring to mind when we think of poisonous plants, but there are many more. In fact, many common garden plants are potentially toxic to our pets. You may think that dogs know that something is poisonous, but they are naturally inquisitive – and they will more often than not eat anything. We’ve all seen those bee-stung faces!

Spring Bulbs & Flowers

Spring bulbs are amongst the most common of garden flowers, and some of them are not just toxic but can be fatal for dogs if eaten. Daffodil bulbs and flowers are poisonous, and if in a vase, the water they sit can be poisonous if drunk.  Your dog would suffer from an upset stomach, vomiting, and make them sleepy and unsure on their feet. Tulips can make your dog drool, sick and give them diarrhoea. Tulips can also give dogs heart problems and difficulty breathing. Azalea, bluebells, cyclamen, foxglove, onion, rhododendron, rhubarb leaves and yew can all be fatal. One of the main issues with spring bulbs is that some dogs like digging things up in the garden, and think bulbs are for eating. It’s recommended to look up your chosen plant to check whether it’s toxic to dogs before you plant it in your garden.

Slug Pellets

Not strictly a plant – but definitely worth mentioning. Slug pellets are used to deter slugs from eating plants, so it’s a regular feature in many a gardener’s arsenal, but if consumed, your dog could have convulsions, breathing problems and be unsteady on their feet. Ideally, avoid using at all if possible. There are many other ways to control slugs, such as copper tape, eggs shells and more that won’t be poisonous to your pets.

How to Prevent your Dog from Eating Toxic Plants

Preventing your dog from eating toxic plants might seem like an impossible task, but there are a few things you can do to minimise the risk. The first step is obvious – avoid planting the poison in the first place. If you’re not sure whether a particular plant is toxic, then make sure that any clippings are tidied away and not left out to wilt. Berries should be cleared away too, so your dog doesn’t even get a chance to consume it. Some dogs may eat poisonous plants because they are bored or stressed, so you may need to look at ways to relax or engage them so they’re less likely to eat garden plants in the first place.

What to do if your Dog has eaten a Poisonous Plant

If you know or suspect that your dog has eaten something poisonous, then seek veterinary advice immediately. Poisoning can manifest in a number of ways, so look out for:

  • Coughing, drooling, wheezing, unconsciousness
  • Vomiting, diarrhoea, disorientation, convulsions, lethargy, twitching, dilated pupils
  • Irritated skin, hives, excessive licking, scratching

Never induce vomiting as it may be more damaging to your dog than if the poison is left in the stomach. It can be tricky to diagnose poisoning, unless you saw your pet eat something toxic, as it is impossible to test for all toxins. There may be an antidote, but more often than not the vet will have to try and maintain normal organ function until the poison has been dealt with out of the body.