Despite the temperamental weather – the blossom on the trees, soothing floral scent and faint murmur of a lawn mower confirm to us that spring has arrived. Although lockdown is now being eased, for many of us, our home continues to double as an office – and as it gets warmer, the concept of working outside in a picturesque garden is appealing to many.
Unfortunately, not everyone’s back garden is particularly photogenic. Sitting in a cluttered outside space, surrounded by weeds and overgrown grass can provoke stress when working. This highlights how beneficial well-maintained outdoor surroundings can be to your mental health – plus, cultivating your dream garden is fun, easy and incredibly rewarding!
To celebrate Garden Month, we’re offering our top gardening tips for beginners!
The first seed you plant is that of inspiration. If you want something modern, wild and romantic – or an outdoor space that fits all year round, there’s no better place to harvest ideas than social media.
Instagram has rapidly become one of the best sites to find inspirational ideas and free content on just about every topic, with over 95 million images and 500 million stories posted every day. On this vibrant social network, you’re sure to find more than one garden design expert.
Another great site to explore is Pinterest – a platform scattered with over 200 billion “Pins” (ideas); it’s safe to say that if you can’t find inspiration there you probably don’t want it! With such a diverse array of content, the social network has an abundance of gardening inspiration, which you can save in specific collections and revisit whenever you want.
Get to know your garden
Many plants have very specific preferences for where they should be planted, therefore you need to evaluate your space. Begin by measuring the size of your plot with a tape measure, a sheet of paper and a ruler.
The next step is to check your garden’s aspect – is it south-facing or north-facing? Establishing where the sun hits the ground will help you decide what to grow and where to grow it.
The earth in your garden can have a huge impact on your plants, therefore knowing what kind of soil you have is important. It could be pH neutral with a value of 7.0, anything below that is classed as acid and anything above, alkaline. You can buy a simple, easy to operate pH test soil kit from Van Hage – this provides useful information to base your planting scheme around.
Finally, the composition and consistency of your soil can effect the quality of nutrients and drainage. Consider the six main soil groups: clay, sandy, silty, peaty, chalky and loamy – use these as a guide to understand what plant is suited to where.
The biggest step to successful growing is to choose plants that like the conditions in your garden. To start off, we recommend selecting plants and shrubs that can be relied on to flower each year with little attention or maintenance; these include the geranium and primrose.
Prepare the soil by weeding and applying mulch or fertiliser if required. To attain the best results, there is much to consider when planting – for more information, look for tips online or pick up a gardening book from The Works.
Be kind to wildlife
Once you’ve cultivated your own patch of paradise, it’s easy to see wildlife as the enemy. Insects strip our plants of leaves, birds eat our flowers and mice nibble on pea and bean seeds – however, it’s important to also understand how useful wildlife can be to your garden.
Birds snack on garden pests, such as slugs, aphids and caterpillars – while bees help pollinate our food crops. Learning to share your space with wildlife is one of many joys of gardening – creating habitats for outdoor creatures can be incredibly fun.
Pet’s Corner sell a variety of food, feeders and accessories for wild animals. From bird nesting boxes to hedgehog snacks; they have everything you need to keep your back garden visitors safe and well fed!
Enjoy your garden
Most importantly, ensure that you take the time to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labour. Plan a small seating area where you can sit and read or eat with friends and family during the summer – if you’re looking for a broad range of outdoor furniture and accessories be sure to stop by Van Hage.
With over 60 years of experience in garden retailing, Van Hage has a unique range of equipment, seeds and much more. With so much to consider, head to their store at PE1 this month to browse and buy all you need to get your garden in tip top shape for the summer!