New Water Gardens gardener '˜should set organic precedent'

A passionate environmental campaigner has called on Dacorum Borough Council to adopt a totally organic approach to caring for its revamped Water Gardens.

Monday, 5th September 2016, 6:00 am
Water Gardens artist's impression

Christine Hillier, of Herbert Street, Hemel Hempstead, says its quite possible to cultivate a garden without the use of pesticides such as glyphosate, more commonly known as Round Up.

Ms Hillier, who is a lifelong campaigner for environmental causes, said: “Why not set a green example to the town? There seems to be a burnt earth policy but chemical gardening is lazy and destructive.

“Now they have employed a proper gardener, they could garden organically with a bit of work. It would be a revolutionary step.”

Organic gardening shuns the use of chemicals and instead culitvates an ecosystem which sustains and nourishes plants all year round.

David Austin, Dacorum Borough Council’s assistant director for neighbourhood delivery, said: “A new full-time gardener is being employed to take care of the Water Gardens. As with all the sites we manage, we minimise the use of chemicals to control weeds.

“We pull them out by hand and use mulch and weed matting to deter regrowth. Where possible we select the plants based on growing conditions, favouring those which are hardy and drought resistant.

“In the case of the Water Gardens, we have been strongly influenced by the original design as laid out by Susan Jellicoe, although certain substitutions have been made where the conditions have been shown to favour certain species.

“One of the main aims of our restoration of the Water Gardens has been to encourage wildlife.

“We have therefore included plants with scented flowers and berries which attract bees, butterflies and other insects, and installed bat and bird boxes.

“We have also improved the water quality of the River Gade by reducing silt and introduced planting at the water’s edge to support invertebrates.

“The new ivy green screen against the car park will also support insects and create a nesting habitat for birds.”