herbaceous border, Levens Hall, Cumbria

National Gardening Week April 30th – May 6th, 2018

Spring is here, summer is coming so now is the time to start growing

Levens Hall, Cumbria (pictured above)

National Gardening Week celebrates everything gardening, from growing a few salad leaves on a sunny windowsill to taking on an allotment and becoming self-sufficient in fruit and veggies or creating a new garden. It is also an ideal time to break down boundaries and forge new friendships within your community by adopting a derelict piece of land and making a community garden or just planting up some containers and putting them outside your front door to brighten up your street.

National Gardening Week was founded seven years ago and has involved thousands of participants. These range from individuals to communities, councils, industry and established gardening entities. If you already have a community garden why not raise funds and involve more of the neighbourhood by having an afternoon tea get-together, have a plant sale or organise a garden fete to raise funds for your project. Why not create a children’s wildlife garden in a neglected corner, make hedgehog homes, hang up bird feeders and plant insect friendly plants. If there are no community events why not have a tea party in your own backyard. Is there a local school which would like help setting up a garden? Enhance your cooking by planting up some herbs and growing them on your kitchen windowsill; the list is endless.

vegetable garden edged with step-over apple trees, Sizergh Castle, Cumbria

Vegetable plot edged with step-over apple trees at Sizergh Castle, Cumbria

This is the ideal time to start gardening as there are so many people willing to impart their wisdom to help you sow seed, create a relaxing outdoor space or just make the outside of your house look pretty. All the RHS gardens; Hyde Hall, Wisley, Harlow Carr and Rosemoor are hosting free talks, guided walks and workshops. If you’re soppy about sweet peas then head to Harlow Carr in Harrogate where members of the National Sweet Pea Association will tell you everything you need to know about growing these fragrant beauties. If you live in the Exeter area you can have a free consultation about any problems you have or if you just don’t know what to do with your garden. If you don’t have a garden why not go and savour the beauty of the bluebell at Godolphin, Helston or help out at the Neurodisability Centre at Linlathen Garden, Dundee where they will be planting vegetables and flowers and creating a rockery.

Join eminent garden designers Adam Frost and Nigel Dunnett for the evening at Hyde Hall where they will talking about their passion for plants and gardens and hopefully inspiring you to go home and create your own little bit of paradise. Many of the National Trust gardens are also hosting hands-on events, demos, talks and garden walks.

All the details of the events above plus dozens more are on the website: http://nationalgardeningweek.org.uk/

Don’t forget if you are hosting your own event register on the website to benefit from some extra publicity:  http://nationalgardeningweek.org.uk/Organise-an-event-form.aspx  Remember to promote your activities as much as possible by posting pictures, dates and times onto social media; facebook, twitter, instagram and pintrest.

Angela Slater
Daughter of a farmer and market gardener so have always had a connection with the outdoors, whether it was keeping animals or producing fruit, vegetables and cut flowers. Along with my work at Hayes Garden World I also have a smallholding, mainly breeding rare breed pigs. I gained an HND and BSc in Conservation and Environmental Land Management, as a result I am an ardent environmentalist and have a keen interest in environmentally friendly gardening. In my time at Hayes I worked for several years in the Outdoor Plant and Houseplant areas