From the week commencing Monday 27th April, the Royal Horticultural Society’s annual National Gardening Week will see thousands of people around the country sharing their passion for gardening. As the nation’s biggest celebration of gardening, the RHS strives to raise awareness of the overwhelming benefits our beloved green spaces have on our lives while seeking to inspire more people, particularly the next generation of gardeners, to cultivate their very own passion for plants. The RHS’s message this year calls upon the UK to ‘keep gardening’ to look after their physical health and wellbeing. With all of us spending more time at home, this week may inspire you to do more with your own garden or perhaps try gardening for the first time. So, to get you ready for the biggest gardening event of the year, we're offering 20% off all products in our National Gardening Week range. Simply enter the discount code NGW20 on our basket page to claim your discount. But now that you've got everything you need - where do you start?
Do a bit of weeding
Weeding is a part of every gardener’s life and it can seem like a daunting task at first, but you’ll soon come to see it as a great way to get outside and get some physical exercise. Remember, it's important to use high quality gardening equipment so as not to cause harm to yourself or your precious garden! Did you know that half an hour’s worth of weeding can burn around 100 calories? Gardening is a great way to keep active and promote a healthy lifestyle; all that raking, digging, walking and reaching is guaranteed to get your blood pumping and increase your heart rate.
Weeding isn’t all about you though, of course - it’s very important to keep these intruders at bay so they don’t steal still water, light and nutrients from the plants that you want to nurture. Four of the most common weeds are dandelions, thistles, stinging nettles and bindweed. The way to tackle all these weeds is to dig them out with a hand fork, making sure to get all the long roots out as any left in the ground will regrow. Remember to make sure you’ve got everything you need to collect your garden waste before you get started. If you weed regularly you should see less and less weeds in your garden every year. As a plus, you might notice your fitness increasing too.
Get into composting
So, what are you going to do with all that hard-earned garden waste? Composting will save you a lot of money and can heavily reduce garden waste. With garden waste collections currently suspended, make the most of your grass clippings, weeds and dead leaves by adding them to a tumbling composter to help them break down more efficiently. If all goes well, your waste heap will become ready for use as a nutrient-rich fertiliser within a few months.
Grow your own
Everyone and anyone can benefit from gardening, so there’s no better time than National Gardening Week than to start growing your own. If you have a balcony, patio or garden, maybe even an allotment - there are so many ways to grow your own. From containers to fruit & vegetable tugs and even window & balcony planters, there is always something suitable for your space. If you are just getting started there are an array of grow your own kits available out there: kits for tomatoes, strawberries or summer flowers to name just a few.
Get the Kids involved
Grow your own kits aren’t just for adults. There are plenty of kits suitable for children to get them involved with National Gardening Week too. With kids currently out of school, this national event is a great reason to freshen up their schedule by taking the learning outside. One report by the UK’s National Trust cites evidence showing that children’s concentration and behaviour improves when lessons are held outside. So, how about inviting wildlife into your garden? From bugs and birds to hedgehogs and bees, wildlife houses can be a great tool to help educate children while they are at home.
Keep the family entertained with some outdoor activities
Depending on the size of your outdoor space, there are any number of games which can be played outdoors to help keep everyone active and moving. A lot of games that kids would usually play in a school playground can be played at home but as we all know sometimes creating imaginary worlds can be a bit exhausting. In that case, why not break out some classic garden games during break time. Bring the bowling alley to your garden with a skittle set or pretend you are in the wizarding with giant chess.
Keep track of your wellbeing
In these uncertain times, we can all too often find ourselves riddled with anxiety as we get sucked into the never-ending news cycle. But gardening can be your superpower. The King’s Fund has put together a report that highlights the relationship between gardens and health. This report draws on various studies to evaluate how gardens benefit our well-being. One study in particular has shown that every 10 per cent increase in exposure to green space translated into an improvement in health equivalent to being five years younger (de Vries et al 2003), with similar benefits found by studies in Canada (Villeneuve et al 2012) and Japan (Takano 2002).
So, what can we draw from this? If you have ever busied yourself in the garden, you know all too well that gardening has a tendency to keep us completely absorbed in the moment. Think of it as a practical form of meditation. No clocks in sight and truly a practice of mindfulness. Remember, there are no mistakes in gardening. Don’t be scared about getting something ‘wrong’, as every day is part of the process of learning something new.
At this time of year, we are often treated to the joy of open garden visits across the country. Usually, The National Garden Scheme gives visitors unique access to thousands of exceptional private gardens in England and Wales while raising money for nursing and health charities through admissions, teas and cake. It has recently been announced the NGS has created virtual visits to their gardens, allowing people to make donations to continue supporting the NGS’s nursing and health beneficiaries.
To stay connected to the gardening community as well as your friends and family, why not open your own garden for a virtual visit? Grab a cup of tea - or maybe you could make a cocktail from your very own herbs - and video yourself as you give a tour of your garden. Use #NationalGardeningWeek when sharing to social media and interact with fellow gardeners online to share advice and ideas – there's so many ways to stay connected with our amazing community and these interactions are a sure way to brighten up your week.
What will you be doing during National Gardening Week 2020? Find us on Twitter and let us know.
Enjoy 20% off all products in our National Gardening Week range by using code NGW20 on our basket page. Offer ends Sunday 10th May 2020.