Garden Day is one of this year’s crop of online gardening events. It’s today (May 10th) and we’re invited to drop our tools to just simply enjoy our gardens, terraces, balconies, window boxes or potted plants.
And The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is also going online from May 18th-23rd.
The NGS is offering virtual garden tours of some of its gardens. They’re free but they’re facing an 80% drop in their income this year, so they are asking for donations so that they can continue to help their various good causes
Starting with Garden Day. The aim is to think about what our gardens mean to us, beyond the chore-based lists. We can sit outside with the sun on our faces (unless it’s raining). Or take photos of, draw or paint plants. Find your favourite gardening book, poem or video.
Or even dig up (forgive the pun) a memory of a garden you visited which you particularly enjoyed. Share it on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.
Lots of gardening experts and personalities are participating,some of whom I’ve interviewed for the Middlesized Garden blog. So I thought I’d round up some of their best advice and tips.
Arit Anderson’s garden design tips
Arit Anderson is one of the Garden Day Ambassadors. She used to work in the fashion industry, but she re-trained as a garden designer. Now, amongst many other things, she is a presenter on Gardeners’ World.
I met up with Arit at Kew Gardens, where she showed me some of her favourite spots. We talked about how visiting a grand garden can give you ideas for your own garden.
‘Think about designing a garden as if it were a fashion collection,’ she advises. She likens shrubs to trousers and perennials to tops. Shrubs provide the solid colour and tailoring a garden needs, and perennials add the colour and drama.
And she says that every garden should start with an ‘anchor or focal point – that’ll be your tree or trees.’
Maybe you’re thinking of changing career into gardening?
The past few months may have triggered thoughts of changing your career. Many successful garden designers and gardeners made their career change in their thirties or forties.
Arit was 44 when she made the switch to being a garden designer. In this post, she explains that first you need to ‘shore up your finances’.
The post also has advice from a range of other late career changers in horticulture, plus books and other resources.
Ideas for styling your houseplants
If your ‘garden’ is an indoor version, there are some fun tips in this post How to Decorate with Indoor Plants.
Mr Plant Geek, Michael Perry, is another Garden Day ambassador. He has a post on how to make a houseplant headband for Garden Day.
And when he was asked, along with three others, to style a small suite at the Leman Locke hotel in London’s fashionable Shoreditch with as many indoor plants as possible, he created a moss rug.
Even he admits this was not practical. But it was fun, and the whole project was brim full of ideas for styling your house plants.
The other indoor plant decorators were Nik Southern of Grace & Thorn florists, and architect Oliver Heath, who specialises in biophilic design. Biophilic design means using nature in design to improve your health.
For example, your eyes tire when you stare at a screen for hours at a time. If you look up to see an indoor plant, with its leaves moving irregularly in a slight breeze, your eyes will follow the irregular movement. This relaxes them much more than just looking away from the screen would.
Read How to decorate with indoor plants for lots of ideas on how to make your indoor space green and relaxing.
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2020
It will be fascinating to see how the RHS Chelsea Flower Show goes online. It should be one of the UK’s premier online gardening events. And it may signal a change in how the show works in the future.
You can enter your own garden for an award, and vote on past award-winning gardens. There’ll be interviews and videos from top garden designers, florists and experts, as well as other activities
The virtual Chelsea website also has lists of nurseries that were going to exhibit at the show, many of which sell by mail order. So you can still buy exceptional plants.
And for more lists of nurseries and garden centres with mail order services, see this post Can you buy plants online?‘
And if you’re relaxing in your garden and would like something to read…
I wouldn’t normally include my ‘other life’ as a novelist in my gardening posts, but if today is all about relaxing in the garden, I thought you might like to know that my latest book, The Night Lawyer, has just been launched. Note that links to Amazon are affiliate, so I may get a small fee if you buy, but it doesn’t affect the price you pay.
Co-written with barrister Sonja Churchill, under the name Alex Churchill, it is a legal drama. It will whisk you from the cloistered world of London’s Temple bar to the dangers of Soviet era Moscow.
And it asks, I hope, some important questions about guilt and innocence. Because we can all be accused of something we’re haven’t done…
What online gardening events have you enjoyed most?
The lockdown has triggered a surge of wonderful online gardening events and activities. I’d love to know which ones you have found most helpful, interesting or inspiring. Leave a comment below or on Twitter or Facebook. Or if you’re a subscriber, just hit ‘reply’ to the email you got this morning. And Happy Garden Day!
And I’ve recently been recommending the Candide gardening app to a number of people trying to identify weeds in their gardens or plants on their walks. Candide are the sponsors of Garden Day, so it seems an appropriate time to mention them.
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