It’s that time of year again! National Gardening Week takes place on 2 – 8 May 2022 and presents a fantastic opportunity to get outside and embrace the great outdoors. Launched by the Royal Horticultural Society, the week aims to raise awareness of the difference gardening can make to the lives of everyone in the UK, boosting our mental and physical health as well as greening our planet.
Here are a few easy ideas on how to celebrate and improve your outdoor area in the process.
Create a sensory garden
Sensory gardens are carefully designed areas which are devoted to engaging the senses and have great health benefits too. A sensory garden incorporates the five senses - seeing, hearing, smelling, touching and tasting. When creating, be sure to add brightly-coloured flowers like sunflowers or hydrangeas. Aromatic flowers like lavender and honeysuckle are great choices for their sweet scent, whilst a water feature or wind chimes are perfect for soothing sounds. Fruit, herbs and peas will be feast for the taste buds and soft leaves like Lamb’s Ear or ornamental grasses will create texture.
Make a seed bomb
A fantastic gardening activity that kids will love. All you need is some wildflower mix, some clay and compost. Mix together with water to form a dough ball. Once they have dried, simply throw onto your lawn or into your flower bed and watch how a magical meadow of blooms grows.
Plant a green roof
If you have a shed, garage or bin store, why not maximise the space by growing a lush green oasis on the roof? Start by laying waterproof sheeting and building a rim around the edge of the roof. Next lay some weed control fabric on the surface before adding a mixture of grit and compost. Plant away!
Painting plant markers is an outdoor fun activity that children are sure to enjoy. Set up a few rocks from the borders, acrylic paints and small brushes and let their imagination run riot. This is also a great learning activity as they learn the name of plants in their garden.
Build a garden teepee
For a quick and inexpensive support for climbing plants, bamboo teepees are both practical as well as being a great play idea for kids. Tie four bamboo stakes together using garden twine and a rubber band,then spread the stakes out to secure them into the soil in your garden bed or container. They can then be used to train climbing plants like sweet peas or clematis, or for beans and peas. Teepees are also great outdoor play for children!
Micro wildlife pond
We recommend using a container or vessel that is approximately 60cm x 40cm in size. Something like our Ellham Metal Ribbed Trough Planter would be ideal. To ensure it is watertight, use a pond liner and putty for the drainage holes. Fill with water and a selection of ponds and oxygenated plants and watch as it attracts wildlife to your home.
Bird feeder treats
A great activity for the whole family to get involved to attract avian visitors to your garden is to make your own bird food treats. Melt some lard in a saucepan over a low heat and allow to cool before mixing equal amounts of dried fruit and bird seed. Put in the fridge to cool the mixture and allow it to set for approximately 15 minutes, before cutting to desired shape and hang in the garden.
DIY compost bin
Composting allows you to make free food for your soil and your plants. You can make compost bins from a wide variety of materials but the easiest to do is with a small pile of pallets. To build you will need five pallets – one for each side and one for the bottom. Secure with cable ties and filled with fruit and vegetable scraps, garden debris and trimmings to enrich soil and help retain moisture which is great for your garden.
Refresh your woodwork
Your shed and fence may need a bit of TLC to freshen up the appearance of your garden and this is an ideal way to express your creative side. Sand down any rough patches of wood and check the door and window seals are secure. Apply a wood preserver to protect the wood from damp, then apply a primer. Then choose a colour that compliments your home to ensure your shed looks bright and colourful ready for the summer months.
We all know the British weather can be unpredictable so why not use National Gardening Week to make your own water butt? Whether it be an old dustbin, barrel or keg, simply place under a water runoff spot and save to water plants or in bird baths for birds to drink and bathe in.