Horticultural Society

Gardening Notes for
Why do I garden?  The effect of gardening on mental health has been well documented, but when I was asked why I garden, I had to stop and think.  There are all the obvious benefits such as being outside in the fresh air, exercise, fresh and organic veg to eat and flowers to enjoy both in situ and as picked specimens for inside the house.  But I think there is a lot more to it than that.  Gardening in your own personal space creates beauty, pleasure, confidence, friendships and conversations. 
So, if you are thinking of starting your own garden, what should you first consider?
Firstly, grow plants that you like but try to identify those which are best suited to your patch.  There is no point in battling away with the wrong conditions, it will only make you feel disheartened and fed up.
Work with nature.  Use techniques and strategies to deal with pests that don’t require chemicals.  Put in plants to attract beneficial birds and insects and let them do the work of controlling pests for you.
Finally, planning and perseverance are essential.  Every year I say to myself, “I’m not going to start off/plant out seeds and seedlings too early.”  I always do!  “Don’t sow too many seeds or you will end up with masses of seedlings to pot on.”  Another thing I always do!
Anyway, moving on, we had a super trip out recently to Hampton Court to the Tulip Festival.  It was another very chilly Spring day, typical of this year, but when the sun came out it was warm enough.  Over 20,000 tulips of all varieties and colours had been planted and they looked spectacular.  Did you know that new varieties of tulips are created regularly, but each one takes around 20 years to cultivate!  I would say that the Palace gardens are well worth a trip at any time of the year because there is a lot to see, but of course, you do need to pre-book.
Writing about gardening would not be complete without talk of the weather.  I heard on the radio recently that April has been the driest and sunniest on record but also had the most nights of ground frost, way, way above the average apparently.
Here’s hoping that June will bring us some long hot days for us all to get outside and enjoy our gardens and the surrounding countryside.

Fiona Davies