By Emily Gray
One of the positives to come out of lockdown (beyond preventing the spread of Covid-19 of course) is that it has given us time. Time to do things we are constantly putting off, time to appreciate things we take for granted and time to start new projects. Something that fits into all three of these categories? Gardening.
Perhaps you have a garden but you never seem to get out into it, perhaps you want to add some plants to your flat or maybe now your gardener is in lockdown you’ve been left wondering what to do. We caught up with Christopher Powell, founder of leading garden design and landscaping service, Growing Concern to find out what novice gardeners should be doing during this time.
Size Doesn’t Matter
Live in a flat without a garden? No problem. It’s all about using the space you do have, 'If you have a window ledge or even just a window sill then you have a mini garden waiting to happen,’ says Christopher. Make the most of window boxes which can be hung over balcony railings, plant pots which can soak up the sun and hanging baskets which require very little space.
What to grow? ‘The best thing to grow at the moment would be herbs, they grow well on window sills and actually don’t need that much attention as they thrive without too much water. Or better yet if you have a balcony or accessible flat roof space they are perfect for vegetable grow bags such as carrots and lettuces.’
Whilst nurseries are currently closed it’s still possible in some instances to visit nurseries such as The Chelsea Gardener to collect orders, otherwise, you can visit supermarkets and delis or order seeds online. There are plants ready to go online but as Christopher advises, ‘you need to be mindful that the quality of the plant could have been compromised depending on how the plant is being delivered and how long it took to arrive after having left the nursery.’
Water is Essential
If before lockdown you had a gardener and you’ve now been left scratching your head wondering just how to care for your garden then put the secateurs down. ‘Anything that happens between now and the end of lockdown can be rectified, plants can be pruned back and lawns can be mown’, explains Christopher. All you need to do is keep it simple, ‘above all, the most important thing is to water your plants. It doesn’t need to be industrial quantities, a sprinkler will do, just make sure your plants don’t dry out.’
And if you are unsure then get advice, check out Clifton Nurseries their blog is full of tips such as making the most of small gardens, how to water your garden and top tips for planting bulbs.
Engage With It
Growing Concern don’t just see a garden as something to look at, they see it as an extension of your house, in some cases it could well be the largest “room” you have so spend time in it-it might just be weeding, mowing the lawn or watering your pot plants, but take time to really engage with what you have.
And there are a number of studies to say that gardening and even just being in a green space can help relieve symptoms of stress and depression. ‘I’m a firm believer in the therapeutic nature of gardening, it’s relaxing, you can let your mind wander off and still focus on the task in hand.’ says Christopher. If you’re finding that your mental health is struggling in this difficult time then growing and caring for plants (or simply sitting in your garden) can be another way to help your mental wellbeing.
Growing Concern is a leading garden design, maintenance and landscaping company working in London and beyond. Christoper and the team have worked in spaces of all sizes, leaving every client with the garden they have always dreamed of. So if your gardening doesn’t quite go to plan, check out Growing Concern.