We were fortunate enough to attend the RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park this year and what a wonderful day out it was! Not only was the weather glorious, but we were able to draw so much inspiration from all the show gardens and beyond. Attending these shows is a great way to keep up to date with the world of horticulture. I always like to keep my finger on the pulse of any new developments and trends and Tatton Park was no exception!
Looking at the show gardens, it is fascinating to me to see how our gardens are rapidly becoming eco-friendlier. Urban gardens are also becoming more popular and innovative, with solutions for introducing greenery to even the smallest gardens. It is no secret that our populations are rapidly expanding which sees more houses being built with less and less space available. Perhaps you have an outdoor space you aren’t sure how to utilise, or you’re looking to make your garden an eco-friendlier place. Thankfully, there are a range of ways to do this, no matter how big or small your garden maybe.
The first step to doing this is to identify your outdoor spaces. If you have a small space outside your back door that is paved, then you may think about incorporating planters or pots. Introducing pollen and nectar-rich plants will encourage key pollinators, such as bees, into your gardens. Bees and the work they do form the foundations for a stable ecosystem. They assist in the growth of much of our food including cereals, apples and strawberries – to name a few! In growing pollen rich plants you are assisting the bees in their important work!
Small outdoor spaces present wonderful opportunities for creativity and style. For example, a balcony can act as a fantastic canvas, especially a low-maintenance one. For one, there’s fewer opportunities for weeds and pests, which can only be a positive thing! Before you dive in, it’s important for you to consider how much sun and shade your balcony gets throughout the day. If your balcony is a sun trap, it’s important to introduce some shade, similarly if it’s particularly windy you might want to add a wind break of sorts. It’s also vital to make sure you understand how much weight is safe to place on your balcony to avoid any mishaps.
If your outdoor space, like a balcony, is an extension to your house, then scent is vital. Mediterranean herbs such as basil, sage and rosemary will create a heady mixture of scents that will fill your house with delicious aromas. Not only that, but having ready access to a herb garden will have a positive affect on your bank account, too!
For any small space, the golden rule for making the most of it is to think vertically. Climbers are a prime candidate for this. Wisteria and Clematis can cover a wall comprehensively, bringing an ethereal prettiness. Another method that is becoming increasingly popular is creating a ‘living wall’. This can be an indoor or outdoor feature that you can plant up with evergreen plants for a stunning display all year round. As these are becoming more and more popular, kits are available to help you to do this, some with watering systems already in place so you don’t have to worry about the rain not reaching them if your wall is tucked away or awkwardly facing.
With a bit of positivity and outside-the-box thinking, it is possible to make any space greener. No matter the motivation there are a plethora of ways you can transform your living spaces into green, relaxing havens.
JASON IS A PROFESSIONAL GARDENER AND LANDSCAPER, AND OWNER OF JHPS-GARDENS LTD.
HE REGULARLY WRITES A PIECE FOR OUR WEBSITE, PLUS THE SENTINEL NEWSPAPER,
AND IS A GO TO EXPERT ON BBC RADIO STOKE’S GARDENING PROGRAMME.