Alan Titchmarsh MBE and other gardening glitterati* join the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) in a call to the nation to keep gardening and grow at home for National Gardening Week 2020 (April 27 – May 3).
At this challenging time, the RHS, the UK’s gardening charity, is committed to continuing to help and support the nation to get gardening and grow a new generation of gardeners as web views to its advice pages are up by 50% to 12m since lockdown started.
Throughout the week, the RHS and its supporters will be doing more than ever before online to bring gardening inspiration and spring beauty to all those staying at home by posting videos, images and advice online to help people garden at home, both indoors and out. People can join in and follow along by using the hashtag #NationalGardeningWeek.
Alan Titchmarsh MBE says; “Plants and gardens have the power to uplift us and that is why we urge everyone to get involved in National Gardening Week this year, in whatever way they can. It is more important than ever that we savour the beauty of flowers and trees because gardens are a natural tonic that give us all a boost.
“And if you don’t have a garden or any indoor plants, remember to pause and appreciate the natural world around you when you take your daily exercise. Take a moment to enjoy plants next week and I know you will feel better for it.”
An RHS video released today shows several famous faces from the horticultural world saying: “We want everyone, everywhere to get involved this year because it is proven that plants and gardening have a positive effect on our mental health and happiness.
“They uplift us, they heal us, they bring us closer to nature. They attract life and offer hope and we could all do with more of that right now.”
Sue Biggs CBE, RHS Director General, says; “We’re delighted to see the incredible appetite for gardening knowledge at the moment with millions more people visiting the RHS website than ever before.
“We want to help everyone enjoy gardening and the benefits of plants while in lockdown which is why we launched ‘Grow at Home’ last week to help even more people develop their gardening knowledge and skills and now unique visits to our gardening advice pages are up by 65% at nearly 4 million.
“This week social media will be abuzz with inspiring videos and images from the RHS and hundreds of our supporters as we come together virtually to lift the nation for National Gardening Week 2020.”
Top 10 tips for National Gardening Week
- Fill containers including window-boxes and hanging baskets with summer flowers, they might need protection on any frosty nights still to come on exposed gardens and northern areas. If plants cannot be obtained quick-growing calendula, cosmos, nasturtiums and zinnias are especially rewarding to sow now
- Salads in June are especially welcome; sow lettuces, radishes, salad onions. Even if only patio containers or tubs on balconies masses of tasty fresh salad can be produced. Lettuces or example can be snipped when mere seedlings and go on to produce another crop in July
- Take another look at the lawn - do you need to mow all of it? Consider leaving at least some unmown until September. The array of flower and insects that use the long grass is surprising.
- With green waste collections on hold in some areas now is a good time to boost your composting. Simply stack waste material, ideally 50:50 soft green material like grass trimmings and vegetable scraps with strawy stuff - pulled up over-wintered plants, cardboard and scrunched up newspaper for example. Aim for a 1m cube or more, ideally in a bin, for best results.
- Help worms covering the soil around plants (mulching) with compost, straw, wood or bark chips and hoe only very shallowly to be rid of weeds.
- Early May is the ideal time to sow annual flowers including wild flowers. Remove weeds with the shallowest hoeing, water the border and the following day sow seeds in short rows so they can be easily weeded before they get too big.
- Sow vegetables such as beetroot and swedes for the autumn and in the south, French beans and sweetcorn for this summer.
- Plant summer 'bulbs' such as dahlias and gladioli for easy late summer colour.
- Take cuttings from sprouting tender plants from last year, or from new ones you have been able to buy, such as abutilon, coleus, fuchsias and pelargoniums. Insert 7cm shoots, deleafed on the lower half, into free draining potting media and cover with a plastic bag until they have rooted.
- As border plants such as heleniums and phlox and sedum begin to grow make sure there are supports put in early to prevent flopping after summer rain, and if the clumps are large dig out a fist sized clump and plant to fill any bare areas or spare pots or pass to fellow gardeners.