How our gardens are becoming even ‘greener’

All our homes and departments are doing their bit to reduce our environmental footprint.

Our Caring without Carbon campaign has been gathering pace since we broadened our scope from solely targeting single-use plastic.

We asked our Head Gardener Charles Hubberstey for an update on what steps he and his fellow gardeners have been taking to support the campaign.

Charles highlighted two major changes. The first is moving to peat-free compost from March this year.

“Peat bogs are the most effective ‘sink’ for carbon on the planet, so to preserve them is an absolute essential for us all,” he said. “Traditionally, when it comes to propagating young plants, peat-free composts have been poor, but we have found an excellent alternative based on bark and other naturally-sourced fibres.

“It’s something we discussed with the producer Melcourt and our gardening tutor Rosie Yeomans, a horticulture expert and researcher for Gardener’s World magazine. And we urge all gardeners at home to choose peat-free too.”

The second step has involved our gardening equipment. Charles explained: “We have converted all our two-stroke hedgetrimmers, strimmers and blowers across our homes to alkylate petrol fuel. Aspen fuel, as it is also known, contains significantly less harmful and toxic hydrocarbons.

“As a gardening department, we make sustainability central to what we do. Nothing is done in isolation, so we’re also continuing to reduce the amount of chemicals and pesticides in our gardens.  At the same time, we’re incorporating more native, wildflower and pollinating plants. Together, this all helps to mitigate industrialisation and pollution, and so reduce carbon,” added Charles.

As well as gardening, we’re working with suppliers across the business to source all kinds of environmentally friendly alternatives – from the materials in our uniforms to the ingredients in our food.

At the same time, we are building more energy efficiency into our operations and our home refurbishments and we’ll continue recycling glass, plastics and cardboard.

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