Daffodils

National Gardening Week 2014

Gardens are inspiring, uplifting & not only good for the soul but gardening will help you keep fit & well as you get older. To further these ideals & bring communities together the RHS launched National Gardening Week three years ago. This year it runs from 14th to 20th April & although it is in its infancy it has quickly grown into the country’s biggest celebration of gardening. Thousands of people get involved each year, whether they are individuals creating something new in their own garden or groups of people on a community project. So why join us this year in celebrating National Gardening Week, we have events laid on for our Budding Young Gardener’s & to entice you into improving your outdoor space we will be announcing our new giveaway competition!

The theme of this year’s gardening week is communities because it ties in with the 50th anniversary of the RHS Britain in Bloom. Not only does the Bloom competition brighten up our civic & business premises but it brings communities together to make huge beneficial changes to the environment around us. The theme for this year’s Britain in Bloom is ‘Growing for Gold’ to celebrate their golden anniversary & they are encouraging groups & communities to get together & turn Britain golden with pollinator friendly plantings. Get started in National Gardening Week by planting seeds of your chosen pollinator friendly plants to create your own golden display. If your group registers with the RHS Britain in Bloom you will also get free sunflower seeds to start you off. There is plenty of information on the RHS website including lists of other yellow flowering plants that will attract pollinators, such as bees, to your display whether it is a pot on the patio or a community plot. This could be the start of something big – there are grants & funding available to gardening groups who wish to set up a project to transform their local area & you can get reduced group rates to visit RHS gardens & shows!

5 Ways to celebrate National Gardening Week

Sunflowers

  • Get involved in a local garden or planting themed event. There are thousands of parks & gardens across the UK which will be open for you to enjoy their spring planting displays in April. As the National Gardening Week coincides with most school Easter holidays there should be lots of activities for kids on offer at local gardens & garden centres too.
  • Plant your own tribute to the ‘Growing for Gold’ campaign. Sunflower seeds are easy to grow & come in a range of sizes but the tall ones will keep the kids occupied as they grow & grow throughout the summer. ¾ Fill a plastic pot (or large yoghurt pot with holes made in the bottom for drainage) with multi-purpose compost. Poke 1 seed per pot into the compost then cover with about another 1.5cm of compost & water so that the compost is moist throughout. It is worth planting more seeds than you need in case some don’t survive – you can always give the ones you don’t want to friends or family. Label the pots & stand them on a tray on a windowsill, check & water regularly. Cut the tops off clear plastic pop bottles to make small cloches to cover your pots – this keeps them warm & stops all the water evaporating. Plant them out in the garden or in containers in June then keep watering & watch out for slugs!
  • Plant a haven for pollinator’s this summer by checking out our planting plan in our Gardening for the Bees blog. You could even adapt the planting plan by choosing yellow flowering plants only so that you can ‘grow for gold’.

  • If you are interested in photography, get out & about with your camera & aim for the perfect shot. The RHS have just launched their hunt for the world’s best garden photographer with a top prize of £2000. There are a number of different categories including gardens, plants & wildlife & there is also a competition for the Young photographer of the Year too. They will soon be announcing their Bloom50 photo competition too so why not give it a go!
  • Start a garden plant swap club. Whether it is at your workplace, in the playground or down the pub there will be lots of people growing seeds & splitting plants in the garden with no idea of what they are going to do with the excess. Decide on a day when everyone will bring in the plants they don’t want or organise a plant swap party over Easter with an Easter egg hunt to keep the kids happy!

Hopefully National Gardening Week will plant a little seed of inspiration in your soul from which will blossom a new or reinvigorated pastime or hobby.

Julie Parker
My interest in gardening & wildlife stemmed from childhood days spent working in the garden with my parents & reading books on anything from robins to giraffes. As time has moved on these influences have stayed with me inspiring the creation my own garden & leading to interests in fish keeping & the natural world around me. I still love to read & hope that the knowledge I gain will make topical reading through these articles.