Hurrah! It is officially Spring and not only that, but April is National Gardening Month!
Having an Outdoor Space that you love makes such a difference, not only to the planet but also for your mental health. Gardening and spending time outside really can relieve and distract from our very busy day to day lives. There’s no better feeling then being out in a beautiful garden that you’re proud of, so let’s get gardening.
We want to inspire any new gardeners to get outside and show you just how easy it can be. It’s all about learning by mistakes, and with gardening these mistakes are usually rather fun to make.
No matter how big or small your outdoor space, there’s always room to create a peaceful and relaxing setting. For example, our balcony planters are perfect to hang on the wall, a trellis and of course a balcony, which adds instant colour and vibrance.
This month we’re also going to inspire you to create a haven not just for you but the wildlife too, so, whether it’s planting bee loving plants or adding a bird box, every small thing we can do to attract wildlife to our gardens will be sure to bring even more joy when we’re outside.
As the great Audrey Hepburn once said, ‘To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.’
Studies have shown gardening is not just good for the planet and the local wildlife, but it’s also super good for your mental health too. Being outside, breathing in some fresh air, not looking at a screen (which some of us do an unhealthy amount of), are all things that would benefit us and would allow you to take in the simple joys gardens/outdoor spaces can bring.
Last year the RHS released research that revealed ‘those who garden every day have wellbeing scores 6.6% higher and stress levels 4.2% lower than people that don’t garden at all. * Doctors in Japan will prescribe ‘forest bathing’ to those who are suffering with their mental health. Forest bathing, purely meaning being in the presence of trees, is proven to lower heart rate and blood pressure, plus improving overall feelings of wellbeing.
There is no better excuse to get out in the garden! So, to inspire you, we have put together some easy ways to enhance your outside space, no matter how big or small it may be.
- Add lots of colours! Plants such as primroses, hydrangeas, sunflowers, ranunculi’s and gladiolus are great at this time of year and are easy to plant too. You can even add some spring bedding, such as our pansies and primroses, which are hardy enough to survive these early morning frosts.
- Make it a comfortable and relaxing space – whether you want to curl up with a good book or just sit back and listen to the bird song, having something comfortable to sit on can make all the difference. We have a great selection of Egg chairs, sofa set and sun loungers that will be sure to help with your zen!
- Consider purchasing a water feature, bird bath or a pond, depending on the space you have. The tranquil sounds of water can be relaxing and again will also attract wildlife.
- Attract wildlife to your garden by putting up bird boxes, bug homes and hedgehog homes, but don’t forget to feed them too. There are also several plants that will attract butterflies and bees to your garden too, such as:
- A Centranthus Ruber also known as a Red Valerian, it often flowers early and continues well into midsummer.
- A Hebe, not only is it a reliable evergreen shrub, hebes attracts a range of insects, in particular bees and butterflies.
- Erysimum ‘Bowles’s Mauve’ will flower from Spring into Autumn if they are consistently deadheaded. Providing nectar for butterflies and bees both early and late in the year.
- Bees can see the colour purple more clearly than any other colour, and some of the best bee plants, such as lavender, alliums and buddleja, have purple flowers. That said, many flowers in other colours will still attract bees, so don’t pull them up!
BRING THE OUTDOORS IN!
Houseplants, not only do they look pretty and brighten up a dull space in your home they also have a whole host of benefits, including reducing your blood pressure and stress levels. A study of more than 4,200 people found that houseplants brought emotional benefits to 74% of participants during COVID-19 lockdowns.
So, if you don’t have a garden, houseplants will lift your space instantly but be sure to place them in a bright area just out of direct sunlight.
‘Watering and nurturing plants can serve as a mindful, calming exercise for many people, and taking care of another living organism can bring about a real sense of purpose within ourselves, allowing us to make a difference and feel better about our contributions to the world around us.’
- DREW A. PATE, MD
There is no doubt that gardening can have many mental health benefits and we strongly encourage anyone of any age and ability to get gardening. Getting outside can make the world of difference to your mental and physical health, but make sure you don’t make it a chore or make it too difficult for yourself!
However, we also understand that gardening isn’t the cure, so if you do need support please do not keep quiet and reach out to your loved ones or there are so many great companies that you can reach out to, such as Mental Health UK – Forward Together (mentalhealth-uk.org), Home – Mind, Mental health – NHS (www.nhs.uk).
HERE ARE YOUR GARDENING JOBS FOR APRIL!
- Add some spring colour! Plant primulas and polyanthus in pots and also in the front of your borders, this will make such a difference.
- Carry on deadheading Spring bulbs and bedding
- You can now start sowing sweet peas at the base of supports, those that are sown in autumn can be now transplanted into their final positions.
- Make sure to spray fungicide on new leaves on your roses, this will try and keep under control the amount of mildew, blackspot and rust.
- Prune your hydrangeas, cut them back to a healthy shoot.
- Sunflowers can now be seeded, ensure that they are in an open site, and water them consistently. Watch out for slugs and snails! Do not let them get near your seedlings.
Fruit and Veg
- Second-early and maincrop Potatoes can be planted.
- Outdoor varieties of tomatoes, courgettes and chillies can be sown into pots, to ensure they can be ready to plant out in late May or June time.
- Separate your hardy herbs, like lemon balm and chives, these can be replanted into pots, borders or any space you have for your herbs.
- Salad leaves can be sown.
- Garlic, onions and shallots can be planted every few weeks, to ensure you don’t run out of supply!
- Coriander, dill, chamomile, parsley and other herbs can be sown into a sunny bed or container.
- If you have a sunny windowsill or a frost-free greenhouse you can sow sweet peas into deep pots.
- You can start to assemble your hanging baskets and summer bedding, however these should be kept in a warm environment until after the last frost.
- Herbs such as basil, chives, parsley, fennel and coriander can be sown into trays or pots.
- Clean your greenhouse windows to ensure as much light gets in as possible.
- Improve air circulation by opening vents and doors on warmer days.
- Keep fleece available to protect younger plants from late frost.
- Keep an eye on slugs, snails and other unwanted guests in your garden, you do not want them nibbling and infecting your garden/plants that you’ve put the effort in to grow!
- Remove weeds, nettles and brambles, treating them correctly with weed killer.
- Continue to put food and water out for birds and also hedgehogs as they are coming out of hibernation!
This month on the 22nd April is Earth Day! Climate change and what we can do to help the planet has never been more on our minds than now, if it’s not for the Climate Change summits that dominate the news or the activists that make headlines. There is never one day that we need to do something to help the planet, to make a big change we need to do it every day, however Earth Day is just another reminder that our planet is precious and it’s up to us to save it.
There is one simple thing we can do, that will make a big difference and that is planting trees! Trees release oxygen into the atmosphere and also absorb CO2, therefore making the atmosphere cleaner. As part of the Queens Jubilee this year, we are taking part in her ‘Tree Canopy Project’ with all of our staff planting trees in their garden. Why not read more about it here and take part yourself! Trees also create a habitat and food for wildlife. The water table is regulated by having plants that absorb the water into the soil, instead of having Astro turf that will not absorb anything and can impact on the water table, increase surface run off and cause flooding.
You can easily create an eco-friendly garden by recycling and reusing materials plus ensuring that the things you use are eco-friendly and recyclable too. Why not grow your own produce, it is easy to plant vegetables and herbs, we sell strips in our shrub department for as little as £3 and nothing taste better than homegrown.
15th – 18th April – Easter Egg Hunt
Come and help the Easter Bunny find his friends round the centre!
It is FREE ENTRY and you could be in with a chance to win a special Easter prize.
This year we have decided to do an Easter Egg Hunt for the kids (or the adults we don’t mind) around the garden centre, with the really sweet theme of the kids helping the Easter Bunny find his friends! It is free entry, just some fun for the kids to have at Easter. There will be a prize which can be collected at either set of tills, and for those that want to, they can be entered to win a Hamper of goodies for the biggest Sunflower!
Saturday 30th April – Traeger Grills @ Polhill
Traeger Grills will be on site cooking up a storm on their vast array of smokers and pellet grills. We are really excited for Traeger to come in and do some cooking demonstrations for us and you, this is the perfect opportunity for you to get to know Traeger more as a brand and also showcase the quality of their BBQs. We want to inspire people to get cooking outside and try different fuel types rather than the typical gas BBQs! Moreover, our new showroom is sparkling and ready entertain and feed you.
Come and discover the great range we have in store, trust us this will tickle your taste buds!
You will not want to miss this!
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