14 Unusual Garden Facts
It’s true, in England’s green and pleasant land we are a national of gardeners. In salute to all our green fingered customers, here’s a selection of fascinating garden facts.
There are over 27,000,000 gardens in the UK that are home to an estimated 389 billion slugs!! But don’t worry, they’re not all in your garden (it just feels like it some days). The average British garden measures 15-metres in length and the total area of all Britain’s gardens combined is actually larger than the total of our national nature reserves.
Garden size featured in a poll of the top 10 factors as to why people choose to move house.
Ye Olde Garden
Gardening for pleasure (for wealthy families to enjoy, rather than for food) was first recorded in ancient Egypt. Surviving images from the time show ornamental plants. The idea of lawns for recreation in the UK can be traced back to the Middle-Ages. By the 17th century lawns were very much a status symbol.
Areas outside of castle or walled towns/villages were often cleared of vegetation to give clear sight lines to spot approaching attackers. These areas became used for fairs and games, making them an early form of communal garden or park. Games such as football (which was a violent and chaotic sport banned by kings and parliament) and cricket would be played here which eventually led to the need for lawned areas.
Roses Of Success
The English rose topped a BBC poll to find the nation’s most popular flower. It won 37% of the vote followed by the sweat pea (29%), iris (14%), lily (12%) and tulip (8%). The unfashionable hydrangea came last and were actually beaten by dandelions (that are considered a weed).
Tree-sy Does It
A study by Lancaster University revealed mature roadside trees can reduce air pollution by up to 50% and decrease road noise by 6 – 10 decibels. For those recuperating from illness or injury, a proximity to trees has been shown to speed up recovery. Trees have also been found to have also been shown to reduce stress and improve mental wellbeing.
Trees can improve house prices. Various studies have found that mature trees in gardens and being on a tree lined avenue can both increase the price of your house.
Sunny Side Up
The vibrant sunflower isn’t a single flower but actually made up of between 1,000 – 2,000 individual flowers on a single head.
The Rafflesia Arnoldii is the world’s biggest flower measuring an incredible 3 feet across. Found in the forest it’s actually a parasite that attaches itself to healthy plants to harvest their nutrients and water. But before you go hunting one down for your patch, you should be aware that it’s a stinker! Nicknamed ‘the stinking corpse lily’, it sends out a smell of rotten flesh to attracts flies and insects.
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon date back to the 6th century BC in what is now Iraq. There were allegedly built by the Persian king as a gift to his wife who, faced with life in a barren desert, mish the lush vegetation of her homeland.
Yes Sir, I Can Boogie…
Plants really do respond to sound. Vibrations (including those caused by music and voices) can positively affect plant growth. Time to dig out those Savage Garden albums?
Weed vs Flowers
When it comes to insects, recent evidence shows the choice is weeds. Insects are often attracted to scent and according to the Smithsonian Institute, sustained breeding has led some plants to have reduced fragrance, meaning bugs are choosing to make a bee-line for your weeds.
It’s thought that there are more microorganisms in a single teaspoon of soil than there are humans on earth. But before you reach for the bug spray, the microbes are vital for filling your soil with nutrients.
Gnome Place Like Home
In 1913 the Royal Chelsea Flower Shower banned gnomes. Having been introduced to England by Sir Charles Isham in 1847 from Germany (where it was believed they attracted real gnomes to their gardens), it took 100 years for RCFS to overturn their ban and gnomes are now welcome guests.