Alice, Gardening, Gardens

You’ve planted your bare root trees, mulched your vegetable plot, and you know your hardy annuals from your tender perennials. You’ve experienced the joys of gardening first-hand, from the mental health benefits, to being able to produce your own fresh produce. If you’re outside the stereotypical gardening age bracket, there’s a high chance your peers may not have even considered getting green fingered. So here are some ways you can help others discover gardening, so they can experience the benefits of nature.

how to help others discover gardening

Spread the word

The easiest way of putting gardening on people’s radar is simple: tell them. Tell them about why you enjoy gardening, and the positive benefits you have experienced from getting back to nature. Talking to people about your hobby can also give you the chance to dispel any misconceptions people may have, for example, that you need a huge plot of land to get started. You could also direct people to other useful resources like our blog which provides a wealth of information, education and ideas for your garden.

Guided tour

They say a picture tells a thousand words, so a great way of striking enthusiasm into the hearts of your peers to show them your garden. Whether you have a huge landscaped lawn with a bountiful vegetable plot or simply a few pots on your windowsill, give others a guided tour when they visit your home, so they can see first-hand just how much fun gardening is and the things they can achieve. You can also take some snaps on your phone to show people when out and about. If you’re sharing your works of art to Instagram, make sure you tag us @primrose.co.uk so we can enjoy it too!

Green gifts

Some people may be open to the idea of starting their own garden, but aren’t quite sure where to start. So what better way to help get them going is there than a green gift. You could gift them with some seeds, or perhaps some pots or gardening tools to get their garden started. Our Plant Theory seed kits are a great option because they provide you with everything you need to start growing in a handy tube. Choose from zesty herbs, spicy chillies, purple vegetables, cocktail condiments, or bonsai trees.

Any road up

When people talk of gardening, most of their attention if focused on the traditional back garden. However, if you are fortunate enough to have a front garden that is visible from the road, that can be a great way to get people inspired. Plant a range of beautiful colourful flowers, and make sure to avoid any dense hedging so passers by can see your garden in all its glory. Before long, you’ll be the talk of the town, and people will be making detours past your house just to take a look.

how to help others discover gardening

Vegetable giveaways

If your vegetable patch is abundant, consider spreading the love and giving away your excess crops. Set up a produce stand outside your home, with a sign welcoming passers by to help themselves. Home-grown crops are often tastier than their supermarket-bought counterparts, so letting people taste your harvest can be a great way of inspiring people to start growing their own. It can also give those in need a helping hand.

Perennial joy

If you have perennial plants in your garden, these can be a great way to help new gardeners get started. Plants such as primroses, irises, mint, and chives can be easily divided to propagate new plants. So a great way to spread the joy of gardening is to offer your offshoots to friends, family, and neighbours.

Community gardening

If you’re up for taking on a bigger project, a community garden can be a great way of getting people involved. Community gardens can be great places for people to learn more about gardening, grow their own food, and get to know their neighbours. Contact the local council to help find a location, then engage local schools, groups, and businesses to spread the word. 

Social media is also a great way to spread the word. Make sure to share photos of your garden with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!

Gardening, Greenhouses, Grow Your Own, Scott, Vegetables

Greenhouse Gardening

Greenhouses help us in creating stable conditions for nurturing and growing a wide variety of plants. During the colder parts of the year, greenhouses allow us to store, prepare and grow so we can extend the success of our gardens throughout the whole year. Below are just a few greenhouse gardening ideas that you can make use of throughout the changing seasons. 

Autumn

Autumn

Maintenance

The perfect time to prep your greenhouse for the cold months ahead. Some essential maintenance will put you in good stead for keeping everything functioning at its best:

  1. Clean the glass to make sure you’re getting the maximum levels of light in.
  2. Check for cracks in the glass and seal appropriately to keep insulation efficient. 
  3. Organise your inside space making sure everything is tidy and easily accessible.

Grow Your Own

Though the warmer months present the height of the growing season for vegetables, greenhouse gardening means there’s no reason to stop growing produce through the winter.  Some ideas for planting are:

  1. Potting potatoes to harvest for Christmas.
  2. Potting up hardy herbs like chives, parsley and mint to continue growth through the winter.
  3. Sowing spinach, rocket, kale and pak choi seeds in trays before transferring seedlings to larger containers for use in winter salads.
  4. Sowing brassicas like cabbage, broccoli and brussels sprouts that can be enjoyed later in the year.

Planting

The colder months can be an ideal time to get a head start on your plans for next spring too:

  1. Lots of perennials can be kept in the greenhouse over winter to keep them alive until the return of warm weather. Fuschias, Pelargoniums and Dahlias are ideal for bringing inside or taking cuttings from which to propagate.

Winter

Winter

Temperature

As we head into the coldest part of the year, temperature control can be your biggest challenge to greenhouse gardening:

  1. At the start of the season, you should monitor the temperature and consider opening the greenhouse door on warmer days to keep everything ventilated.
  2. As the temperature drops, covering your greenhouse glass with large bubble wrap is a cost-effective way of providing extra insulation.
  3. You may want to consider getting a greenhouse heater. Both electric and gas heaters can be purchased depending on your set up and both will permit more accurate and consistent temperature control.

Grow Your Own

Making use of a greenhouse heater and the consistent temperature it provides makes it ideal for planting in preparation for spring:

  1. With a stable warm temperature, you can start growing peppers in the greenhouse. These can be transplanted outside when warm weather returns or kept inside the warm greenhouse. 
  2. Peas, squash, cucumber, courgettes and aubergines can all be started in late winter in preparation for planting in the spring. Getting a head start now will set you up well for success later.
  3. Towards the end of winter, you can begin planting seeds for spring and summer flower beds. The seedlings can be incubated before being transplanted outside in warmer weather.

Frost Protection

Now is also the time when our greenhouse can act as a refuge for tender plants in the garden:

  1. Potted plants can be moved into the greenhouse to avoid damage from changing temperatures and frost. Consider some greenhouse staging to organise your pot storage.
  2. Move tropical specimens into the greenhouse perhaps with an insulating layer of fleece and straw. 
  3. Your perennials can be kept in the greenhouse ready for spring. 
  4. Remember to water sparingly at this time and according to each plant’s separate needs.

Spring

Spring

Freshening Up

As we move into spring and the warm weather starts to return we can begin moving things out of the greenhouse back into the garden:

  1. With the warm weather returning you can give the glass another good clean to remove the marks left by winter and maximise the amount of light getting through.
  2. With changing temperatures, it may be good practise to heat your greenhouse at night and ventilate it during the day at the start of spring.
  3. Setting up a water source like water buts or a connected hosepipe will make greenhouse gardening much easier when you start watering more regularly.
  4. The arrival of spring can also mean the emergence of pests so keep an eye out and rid accordingly with sprays.

Grow Your Own

Now is an ideal time to begin planting your summer vegetables:

  1. Courgettes, cucumbers, squashes and sweetcorn are ideal for planting in the greenhouse ready for transplanting to the outside when the summer warms the garden properly. 
  2. Plant tomato saplings in grow bags so they can establish through summer when the greenhouse doesn’t require additional heating.

Back Outside

When the warm weather makes itself felt across your garden you can start moving overwintered plants back outside. Bear in mind that your plants that are cultivated inside will need a period of “hardening off” with increased ventilation and cooler temperatures before being moved outside fully.

  1. Perennial cuttings can be transported to pots or flower beds perhaps with the protection of a cloche until the warm weather fully returns. 
  2. Tender potted plants can be moved back outside, though you may remove any fleece insulation at a later stage in spring or summer. 
  3. Towards the end of spring, you can plant more seeds to transplant during summer such as marigolds. 

Summer

Summer

Sun Protection

With the warmest part of the year now in full swing you can make full use of all that light and energy coming into your greenhouse: 

  1. You may need to add netting or some light shade to prevent overheating or scorching during higher temperatures.
  2. Make sure you have enough ventilation, keeping vents and doors open on warm days and some nights if occasion requires it.
  3. Dampening the floors and staging each day can help add humidity to the greenhouse on warmer days. 

See What Grows

Greenhouse gardening means having a lot more control over the immediate environment. Have fun and experiment with some other plants:

  1. Harden off your summer bedding blooms to clear room in the greenhouse for other plants.
  2. You can make use of the hottest part of the year by growing some different plants; maybe try propagating some house plants for inside the home like crassulas or sansevierias.
  3. Feed and water your plants regularly to make full use of the peak growing season. 
  4. Take cuttings from perennials like fuschias and pelargoniums.

Harvest

This is also a great time of year for harvesting your well-earnt produce! 

  1. Tomatoes, cucumbers and chillies can be picked regularly to encourage further growth. 
  2. Plants moved outdoors for the summer should begin to reach full maturity towards the end of summer and can be incorporated into your summer meals. 
  3. There is still time through summer to plant crops that have a fast yield such as carrots, beetroot, beans, spinach and kale.

Follow us on Instagram and tag us in a photo of your greenhouse. We love to see great gardeners in action and we may even feature your photos on the Primrose feed. 

Scott at PrimroseScott is a copywriter currently making content for the Primrose site and blog. When at his desk he’s thinking of new ways to describe a garden bench. Away from his desk he’s either looking at photos of dogs or worrying about the environment. He does nothing else, just those two things.

See all of Scott’s posts.

Gardening, Will

Our memory of the First World War tends to focus on the trenches and shellfire, but for hundreds of men held in Ruhleben Internment Camp in Berlin the war was actually spent tending vegetable patches and organising flower shows. When the war broke out in 1914, British men of military age who happened to be in Germany were interned within the confines of the Ruhleben Racecourse. In total about 5,500 men were detained there, and they created a community that closely resembled the one they had left in Britain. This soon included a thriving horticultural society, which is itself a fascinating story and an example of the positive power gardening can have in the most challenging of circumstances.

Source: RHS Lindley Library

The German authorities left the camp’s internees to run their own affairs, and in addition to public services, they founded a series of hobby clubs – including popular sporting, musical and theatrical societies. In 1916 the Crown Princess of Sweden gifted some seeds to the internees, which inspired the idea of an official horticultural society. In September 1916 the initial 50 members drew up a constitution, and the society quickly expanded – by the start of 1917 there were 454 members on the books.

A letter was sent to the Royal Horticultural Society in London asking for official affiliation. They apologised for being unable to include the usual fee, but the RHS did not see any problem with that, and sent a batch of bulbs and seeds to get them started. Gardening efforts were initially focused on growing flowers, with the camp’s joinery shop producing frames to help bring on the first seedlings. The flowers were prized as a way of distracting from the dreary daily reality of barbed wire, and were even sold to raise money for their families back in Britain. An array of different flowers were grown, including chrysanthemums, dahlias and over fifty varieties of sweet pea. A rock garden was also established near the wash house, which “redeemed one of the most melancholy views in camp”, according to a report by the society’s committee.

Source: RHS Lindley Library

In April 1917 the first camp flower show was held, which was organised with written directions and assistance from the RHS. The horticultural standard was high and the show was a great success. There were several further shows in the following years, which grew in size and popularity – in March 1918 600 pots were staged in total, and 2.000 pots were sold for a healthy profit.

In 1917 the Ruhleben Horticultural Society widened their focus to growing vegetables to supplement the internees’ diet, and took over a large parcel of land for that purpose. A loan from the German authorities also enabled the building of a heated greenhouse, which was used to grow melons and tomatoes. The vegetable garden was managed by a permanent staff of 18 internees, assisted by 10 volunteers, and by 1918 the camp was almost self-sufficient in fruit and vegetables, in stark contrast to the near starvation being experienced throughout Germany at the time.

Source: RHS Lindley Library

The society’s gardening efforts were not always easy; the soil at hand was dry and sandy, and sourcing manure was difficult – but they worked around the challenges to create amazing results. The Ruhleben Horticultural Society is a wonderful example of finding positivity in a time of hardship, and is a demonstration of just how life-changing gardening can really be. The internees were released in November 1918, and will surely have returned home healthier in mind and body thanks to the green-fingered efforts of their horticultural society.

Sources:

RHS Lindley Library

https://archiveshub.jisc.ac.uk/search/archives/59079105-fa9a-3b97-a7d1-78195115b711

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/10606906/Ruhleben-the-WW1-camp-where-gardening-blossomed.html

Will at PrimroseWill is a Copywriter at Primrose and spends his days rattling out words for the website. In his spare time he treads the boards with an Am-Dram group, reads books about terrible, terrible wars, and rambles the countryside looking wistful.

See all of Will’s posts.

 

Animals, Bird Baths, Birds, Conservation, Current Issues, Gardens, How To, Megan, Organic, Sustainable Living, Wildlife

Rewilding Your Garden - Wild Flowers

What Is Rewilding?

Rewilding, simply put, is allowing your garden to be restored to its natural state. This in turn encourages more wildlife and wild plants to reside in your garden. Rewilding involves sitting back and letting your garden undergo natural processes it’s yearning for you to allow. Those who keep their gardens prim and proper may be baffled by this thought, but there is something beautiful in watching nature run its course and the outcome is something you will be sure to embrace.

Rewilding Your Garden - Butterflies

Why You Should Consider Rewilding Your Garden

There are many benefits to rewilding your garden. In a world that is constantly developing, rewilding will help nature recover from the destruction it is experiencing in the wider community. Experiencing a pocket of wild nature can do wonders for the mind and can improve health and wellbeing. Rewilding also encourages wildlife, from wild birds to rare insects, and allows them to flourish. More than half of wild species in the UK are in decline and 15% are threatened with extinction. Leaving nature to run wild in your garden will provide a space for biodiversity to blossom right in front of your eyes.

How to Start Rewilding Your Garden

Ditch the Chemicals

Many of the chemical pesticides, weed killers, slug pellets and fertilisers are incredibly harmful to the wildlife in the garden, especially insects. Bees for example, which human life depends on, are killed by contact pesticides. Ditching chemicals can do wonders for your health, the health of your garden and ultimately the wildlife population in the vicinity of your garden.

Weeds aren’t actually all that bad; stinging nettles, for example, provide a home for moths and butterflies. Many weeds protect and restore exposed or degraded soils. If you feel weeds are taking over and you can’t resist getting your hands dirty weeding, opt for a homemade, natural, organic weed killer.

For more tips on ditching chemicals in your garden, check out our post on organic gardening.

Rewilding Your Garden - Fish In Pond

Add Water

One of the best things you can do to increase biodiversity whilst rewilding your garden is to add water. It is after all what sustains life on earth, so it can do wonders for encouraging wildlife in your garden. You can go all out and add a pond to your garden if you wish, which offer a self-sustaining cycle of hydration. This in turn saves water – by building a pond you are allowing that part of your garden to self-water, alleviating the need to use more water. Over time your pond will be abundant with pond life such as frogs, newts, pond snails and damselflies.

If a pond is a bit ambitious for you, or you have a smaller garden, provide a smaller source of water such as a water fountain or bird bath. Running water attracts wildlife such as birds, rabbits & squirrels.

Rewilding Your Garden - Flower Meadow

Leave Your Lawn Be

Put that lawnmower away! Leaving your lawn to grow in abundance will encourage a diversity of grass and herb species. Many of these will flower – the dream of having a wildflower meadow right in your back garden is possible! Borders and paths can be kept neat by mowing and trimming, but be sure to keep the main bulk of your lawn to grow as wild as you dare. Leave cutting your meadows to late in the year. Goldfinches like to munch on the late seeds and meadow brown caterpillars feed on the long grass and hibernate underneath it.

Don’t Over-Plant

You may be tempted to aid in rewilding your garden by planting native plants, but it is best to be patient and wait until they start growing themselves. Seeing what species of flowers and trees pop up is much more exciting and will save you lots of money too. Species that naturally grow in your garden will also be a lot better suited to your soil than any plants you try to introduce yourself.

In conclusion, rewilding your garden can be an exciting and rewarding experience. We hope we’ve inspired you and left you wondering what could grow in your garden if you let it just be!

Megan at PrimroseMegan works in the Primrose marketing team. When she is not at her desk you will find her half way up a hill in the Chilterns
or enjoying the latest thriller series on Netflix. Megan also enjoys cooking vegetarian feasts with veggies from her auntie’s vegetable garden.

See all of Megan’s posts.