From little things big things grow

Maureen Lucas: How to make your home more sustainable

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NATURALLY COOL: The deciduous crepe myrtle lets in the winter sun but in summer is covered in leaves which give good shade and help keep houses cool. Photo: Paul Lucas

NATURALLY COOL: The deciduous crepe myrtle lets in the winter sun but in summer is covered in leaves which give good shade and help keep houses cool. Photo: Paul Lucas

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Maureen Lucas' top tips to make your home more sustainable.

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Climate change. We have all heard of it ad infinitum in the last several years and it is one of the most important challenges in the future of humankind.

If we don't do something, we will end up with more deserts and a less liveable planet.

This can all seem overwhelming to us as individuals. We might think we are just one little person and our contribution will make very little difference.

Wrong. It is a bit like the making of a rope: each little fibre isn't very important in itself but joined together can make a very strong whole - enough to restrain even big ocean liners when docked at the pier.

With a little bit of thought and determination we, as gardeners, can do many things in our own little patch. Of course, the bigger your patch, the more impact you will have; but even a small balcony can contribute.

Here are some of the things we can do:

Grow more plants, grow more plants and grow more plants. As many of you will be aware, plants help keep our atmosphere clean, assist in compacting the soil and stop erosion.

Trees are plants too and we sometimes overlook their value in keeping the house cooler in summer, so we need to use less power. Miniature varieties are now being bred to allow for smaller gardens.

You can also install a water butt or rainwater tank. The water collected can be used to keep your garden hydrated and help the plants to grow better, plus you will not need to draw as much from the mains water.

Ask your plumber to have the toilet connected to the tank so you can use that water for flushing - does save a lot.

Be kind to bees. They pollinate our food crops. Plants like lavender and flowers with prominent stamens will attract them.

Growing food in your garden also saves food miles, and is much fresher and tastier and better for you.

Finally, don't forget to reuse, recycle and compost.

We can all do our little bit to make a better world.

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