Yorkshire Bank goes Wilde for greener gardens

Pop star turned gardener, Kim Wilde, has launched a new initiative to help people make their gardens “greener”.

The green-fingered songstress, who still enjoys a successful pop career alongside one in horticulture, is teaming up with Yorkshire Bank and the National Trust to encourage people to make their gardening more environmentally friendly and save money in the process.

Simple ideas that people can try in their back gardens, allotments and school yards include composting, worm farms, rain water collection and growing their own vegetables.

Kim says: “The Greener Gardens campaign combines two topics close to my heart – gardening and the environment – and so I’m really excited to be part of it. People are already taking steps to make their homes greener but aren’t necessarily thinking about what they can do in their gardens. We want to show people that there are simple and easy changes they can make, but if enough of us get on board with these small steps, we can make a big difference.”

The Greener Gardens project is part of Yorkshire Bank’s three year, £1.5 million sponsorship of the National Trust Outdoor Programme, which supports conservation, environmental and engagement activities in National Trust gardens.

As part of the launch, Yorkshire Bank and the National Trust will be giving away Greener Gardens goodie packs, which will include a National Trust family day pass, amongst other green goodies, at selected National Trust venues across the country.

Helen Everett, Yorkshire Bank’s Head of Sponsorship, explains: “Our sponsorship of the National Trust Outdoor Programme is just one example of our commitment to the environment. We believe in making changes that deliver long-term, sustainable change, both in our own business and in the larger world. The Greener Gardens initiative is our way of encouraging others to join in.

“People are becoming increasingly aware of what they can do in the home to help the environment and save money by recycling, reducing waste and using energy efficient light-bulbs. We’ve teamed up with Kim and the National Trust to take this one step further and out into their gardens.”

Head of Gardens at the National Trust, Mike Calnan, says: “The National Trust is taking major steps to ‘green-up’ its gardens to help combat global warming. From gardens the scale of ours, to the smallest window box, everyone can do their bit, like recycling garden waste to making compost or installing water butts to harvest rain water for use in their gardens.”

Through its partnership with the National Trust, Yorkshire Bank funds environmental initiatives encouraging staff and customers to get involved in the wider community and take part in volunteering projects across the National Trust’s 200 historic gardens. The funding takes forward work on improving the way both the Trust and its visitors can maintain gardens and outdoors spaces in more environmentally sustainable ways.

During the three-year sponsorship programme, the Bank is also funding a groundbreaking plant survey project enabling the Trust to understand the huge variety of species it has in its gardens. The partnership plays an integral part of the Bank’s commitment to protecting the environment, including an ongoing drive to reduce its Carbon Footprint.

National Trust Top Tips for Greener Gardens – Things YOU can do at home

Make yourself a compost heap

There are all sorts of things you can recycle into plant food. You can get a cheap compost bin through your local council – call the WRAP helplines on 0808100 2040 to find out (visit: wwww.wrap.org.uk/composting).

Grow Your Own:

Get yourself an allotment, or at least get your name on the list for when the next plot becomes available
Dig up a patch of your garden and convert it into a vegetable plot
Not got a garden? Plant herbs and miniature crops – like strawberries or tomatoes in indoor tubs or window boxes

Save Water

Mulch the garden: adding a 5-10cm layer of mulch cuts down on evaporation so you need to water less frequently and it also reduces the amount of weeding you’ll need to do
Replace water loving plants with drought tolerant varieties
Buy a water butt and connect it up

A changing climate

Annual summer rainfall has fallen by about 20% since late 19th century
Earlier onset of spring flowering; trees are coming into leaf on average 2-3 weeks earlier than 30 years ago
The growing season has lengthened by about a month since 1900 in central England
Frosts have declined almost to zero in SW England and frozen waters even in N England are now very rare
Britain has become twice as stormy in the last 50 years.