2nd – 8th May is National Gardening Week and a chance to celebrate everything we love about being outdoors. Whether that means tending to your own garden, sowing seeds, relaxing in the sun or simply taking a stroll through your local woodlands, National Gardening Week is simply about finding joy in being outside, whatever that means to you.
Gardening is incredibly good for your mental health and wellbeing. It's been proven to reduce anxiety and stress, and it, of course, is excellent for your physical fitness as well. That said, if you're new to gardening or not naturally green-fingered, knowing where to start and what to do can be a little overwhelming. Don't worry; we've got plenty of easy garden tips that even amateur gardeners can do to get outside and experience the joy of gardening.
Pruning is an essential skill for any budding gardener that many avoid because of a lack of confidence or understanding. But knowing how and when to prune plants, shrubs and trees will encourage healthy new growth and flowering, and your garden will thank you for it.
All you need for effective pruning is a good pair of garden cutting tools if you're tackling a tree and a little bit of know-how. First, always cut the stem just above a bud at a diagonal angle away from the bud. Not sure what to remove? Look for crossing stems or branches rubbing against others, along with any dead growth, and stems that are diseased, snapped, or growing in the opposite direction to the others.
Before you start pruning, always check the type of plant and make sure it is in fact a variety that requires pruning, as not all plants need it.
Deadheading is the process of removing faded or dead flowers from a plant. Regular deadheading helps the plant bloom continuously throughout the growing season, maintains the plant's appearance and promotes good future growth.
It's a simple job to do, and the new blooms you'll get as a result of your work will make it worth the while. Once you notice a flower starting to fade and wilt, cut or pinch the stem just below the flower head to remove it. If you're dealing with a plant with many flowers, it may even be more beneficial to shear the top few inches of the plant off to remove all the blossoms in one go.
The key to deadheading is to do it a little but often, starting in spring. If you go out and deadhead your flowers every few days, the task will be far less daunting than if you wait and do it all in one go later in the year.
Weeding might not sound like much fun, but like with deadheading, if you do a little, but often, you'll soon find the task much more manageable, your garden will look great for longer, and it gets you outside.
There are a handful of ways to weed a garden. First, you can dig them out by hand, although be wary that if you leave even a little bit of the root behind, the weed will be able to regrow. If you've got a large area to weed you can cover the ground with a thick mulch or plastic lining to deprive them of sunlight; this will eventually kill them. You can also use weedkillers or a hoe.
The best way to take the stress out of weeding is to accept that it's something you'll always have to keep on top of if you want a weed-free garden. It's also worth noting that many weeds are essentially wildflowers that serve a really important role for pollinators, so learning to tolerate some weeds is good for both you and nature.
Learning how to divide perennial plants is not only a great way to prevent plants from becoming overgrown and overcrowded, but you're also getting a new plant somewhere else in your garden for free. When we let plants get overgrown, they won't bloom as well but dividing them helps to reinvigorate them.
Spring and autumn are the best times to divide perennials; although you can divide them in summer if you really want to, just make sure they're planted in moist, good quality soil and keep well watered. You can buy compost online from our online store if you need any.
To divide your plant, dig up the entire clump with a shovel, carefully levering the root ball out of the ground. Shake or brush off any excess soil from the root ball and either prise or cut apart the individual crowns of the plant. Make sure each lump has both leaves and roots. Replant your new clumps quickly to avoid the roots from drying out, and cover the soil with mulch to retain moisture whilst the new plant is establishing itself.
Watering During Dry Spells
Watering your outdoor plants is important to promote good, healthy growth, and it can be a relaxing activity that isn't too strenuous. If you buy flower seeds online, you'll want to make sure they get enough water once sown to get beautiful blooms that will fill your garden with colour. That said, it's important to know when to water and remain conscious of not wasting water unnecessarily.
How often you water will depend entirely on the individual plants and what they need, whether they're in a border, container, or somewhere where their roots are restricted, like next to a wall. Of course, the season will also impact how frequently you water. In most cases, watering in the morning is ideal if you can find the time, and the water should be directed towards the roots so that the plant can take it in as effectively as possible.
Rainwater is the best kind of water for your garden, and better yet, it's freely available if you have a water butt to store it in.
If you're looking to get outside for National Gardening Week, why not come down and pay us a visit at our Garden Centre near Kendal. You'll find plenty of inspiration for your outdoor space, no matter how big or small.