How to cre­ate your own or­ganic gar­den fit for a fu­ture king

Element - - The Cuase -

El­e­ment spoke to Debs Good­e­nough, head gar­dener to the Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Corn­wall, on the prin­ci­ples and prac­tices that have made High­grove so spe­cial.

What is the key piece of ad­vice you would give to read­ers look­ing to gar­den or­gan­i­cally?

Look to your soil – feed and nur­ture it to give you the healthy plants that you want to grow. It is a whole­some ap­proach which looks at the over­all dy­nam­ics which make a gar­den thrive, rather than ‘quick fix’ ac­tions to fix ‘prob­lems’ that will oc­cur again and again.

Pest con­trol can be one of the tough­est chal­lenges in or­ganic gar­den­ing, do you have a se­cret?

Pest con­trol can be a chal­lenge, but by tak­ing a more holis­tic ap­proach and en­cour­ag­ing more wildlife, which are preda­tors of your pests, into the gar­den, you can deal with many of the prob­lems. High Grove is a haven for wildlife: we en­cour­age slow worms, toads, hedge­hogs and song birds which in turn help us to keep the pests num­bers down. One of the most pop­u­lar ques­tions that the gar­den tours are asked is “how come the hostas look so good?” His Royal High­ness holds the Na­tional Col­lec­tion of large-leaved hostas, which main­tain their stately leaves with min­i­mal slug and snail dam­age as their nat­u­ral preda­tors are en­cour­aged to thrive: a bal­ance is achieved be­tween gar­den friend and foe. Also ap­pre­ci­ate what is ‘ac­cept­able’ dam­age; ask your­self if in­ter­ven­tion is nec­es­sary and if so, is there an or­ganic ap­proach to re­duce the pest num­bers and how can we pre­vent the prob­lem oc­cur­ring again?

Or­ganic roses are an­other tricky area, do you have any tips?

Feed the soil, of­ten! Cre­ate a good wa­ter­ing regime in the grow­ing sea­son and choose dis­ease re­sis­tant va­ri­eties. En­sure the po­si­tion is suit­able to plant the rose in, with enough light, wind pro­tec­tion and the right soil con­di­tions.

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