Ruth looks at some of the things you could be getting on with this week

This week is National Gardening Week (though we thought every week was gardening week!) and to celebrate this fantastic festival of growing we would like to hear what YOU are doing in your garden.

Are you trying something new or are you sticking with the tried and tested that you know and enjoy growing?

Has anything unexpected happened in your garden? Have new plants sprung up, new birds and insects been seen?

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Alan Titchmarsh says gardening is good for our physical and mental wellbeing

And exactly how has your garden been seeing you through lockdown? We would love to know – and you would be in good company.

As the UK enters week six (where has the time gone?) of lockdown, Alan Titchmarsh MBE and other gardening stars join the Royal Horticultural Society in a call to the nation to keep gardening and grow at home for National Gardening Week, which runs from April 27 to May 3.

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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 gives 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.”

“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.

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“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.”

Here are a few things you could be getting on with this week:

 

Cosmos are easy to sow and quick to grow

  • If you are having problems getting hold of plants for borders and window boxes, sow some quick-growing calendula, cosmos, nasturtiums and zinnias.

 

Salads are quick and easy to grow and take much better than supermarket leaves

  • Sow and row your own salads – they’re so much crisper and way cheaper than anything you can by in a supermarket. The same goes for beetroot, sprig onions and radishes.

 

De0bug your greenhouse before pests can tuck into young plants and cuttings

  • Check what’s happening in the greenhouse. Make sure your plants are healthy and get rid of any lurking bugs. A garlic candle or it’s organic equivalent is the best way of fumigating because it will get rid of the pests but you can leave the plants inside while it burns, unlike the old fashioned sulphur candles.

 

Who needs pristine lawn when you can have a wildflower paradise?

  • 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. (Our lawn mower currently has a broken spark plug so we can’t actually mow and the growing carpet of buttercups, daisies, self-heal and speedwell is beautiful).

 

Get your agapanthus and lilies ready for their summer glory

  • Get your more tender summer perennials, such as agapanthus and lilies, ready for the summer ahead. Some fresh compost, food and water and they’ll be raring to go!

 

Get making compost – it’s great for the garden and saves loads of money

  • Keep on composting, especially as garden waste collections have stopped. Mix kitchen peelings with grass clippings, prunings, and any other garden plant waste (though avoid diseased plant material and ripe perennial seed heads). If you don’t have  a compost bin, use an old dustbin or simply start a pile somewhere out of the way – it will soon start to break down and in a few months’ time you’ll have a pile of goodness to add to your borders.

 

Sow some quick-growing veggies such as beetroot – they are perfect for patio containers too

  • Sow vegetables such as beetroot and swedes for the autumn and in the south, French beans and sweetcorn for this summer.

 

It will soon be warm enough to plant out dahlias and gladioli

  • Plant late colour in the form of dahlias and gladioli that will brighten your borders through into autumn.

Don’t forget to let us know what you are up to this week via social media and the usual email address:  amateurgardening@ti-media.com

 

We are here for you

Although many people are coping well with self-isolation, others are really struggling and feeling completely forgotten and alone.

Here at AG we are doing our best to keep connected to our readers though the magazine, this website and also through social media. WE are here for you every week, not just National Gardening week!

Our gardening ‘agony uncle’ John Negus is also still working hard. Send him your problems and questions, with pictures if you can, and he will get back to you with an answer withing 24 hours, as he has been doing for decades. Contact him using the AG email address at: amateurgardening@ti-media.com

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We already have thriving Facebook page but are also on Twitter and Instagram. These sites are a brilliant way of chatting to people, sharing news, information, pictures and just saying hello – we will get back to you as soon as we can.

Best of all, as gardeners are generally lovely folk, more interested in plants, hedgehogs, tea and cake than political shenanigans and point-scoring, so the chat is friendly and welcoming.

So please drop by, follow us, ‘like’ our posts and say hello – the Instagram feed is in it’s really early days so the quicker we can get that going with your help and support, the better!

You can find us at:

Facebook: Facebook.com/AmateurGardeningMagazine

Twitter: Twitter.com/TheAGTeam