Get into gardening in preparation for spring

Written by Catherine Wilson

Brits spend an estimated 90% of their lives indoors (we dread to think what the figures have been over the last year!), but with evidence that time spent gardening or in nature does wonders for our mental and physical health, we think it’s time to invest in some leafy friends. Let’s get into our outside spaces and attempt some simple transformations… No outdoor space? Scroll to the last tip!

Set the vibe
Yes, that’s right, your garden can have a vibe beyond ‘needs-a-lick-of-paint’ decking, and ‘why-don’t-you-love-me’ roses.There are endless styles in gardening that go way back in history, but we have chosen two favourites to focus on. The first is the country garden - informal, colourful, and gives you meadow vibes just outside the kitchen window. Phlox and honeysuckle will bring daintiness and pretty pastels, whilst lavender and hollyhock add height and fragrance.
The second style we love is the prairie garden. With ornamental grasses and bright varieties of daisies, you can achieve an effortless, natural look, with freedom to inject as much or as little colour as you wish. The prairie should be planted in the winter, so we hope this issue of Clarity finds you with enough time to get started on a new project! Echinacea are a must for the prairie with unique, sculptural flower heads to add both colour and a point of interest to your garden.

The Pots
You do not need the resources of Kew Gardens to get your garden blooming. All you need is a pot. And pot is a loose term; a pot can be whatever you say it is. You can go traditional with muted terracotta or glossy ceramic. Alternatively, think outside the box with an old bucket or a reclaimed kitchen sink - the plughole is perfect for drainage! Many plants actually prefer smaller pots so the options are endless.

Recycled tins or glass jars can make a great home for little succulents like Nerve Plants or Baby’s Tears, in a small container they’ll not take up much space on the windowsill. Just make sure you use some stones in the bottom of the jar for drainage. Watch out for malnourished potted plants. They will need additional nutrients compared to those grown in the ground, so try adding liquid feed to your watering can every two weeks throughout the growing season. Look at the garden as an extension of your home and let your personal style overflow.

Time your plants right
In all honesty, we are not the best experts when it comes to the intricacies of the garden. Thankfully, the BBC Gardeners’ World website is a treasure trove of info with a scheduled checklist of jobs to do for each month, including what to plant when. Now that we’re entering the winter months, there is still plenty to keep your fingers and thumbs green.
Growing Health reported that gardening or growing veg can create positive hope for the future. Building this hope often starts in winter, when it probably takes a bit more motivation to go out into the cold, or really to venture anywhere further than the distance from sofa to kettle. Think of the botanical goodness that will await if you put in the hours in autumn.

Planting up winter pansies and heather will give some year-round colour, whilst spring bulbs like crocuses and daffodils, or delicate white laceflower will have you reaping the pretty-petalled-benefits when the sun comes out in spring. If you want to get more than just eye candy from your garden, winter is a great time to plant hardy lettuces like winter gem, or Avola peas. Both can be grown in a sheltered pot and will make for a delicious fresh salad in the springtime.

No outdoor space?
If a garden is a step too far for you, let’s blur the line between indoor and outdoor and bring those botanicals into the house. House-plants have become the bread and butter of millennial homes, but if you’re not on the bandwagon yet, we have some room-specific suggestions. For the kitchen it’s a no-brainer, choose a plant you can eat. Try out a hanging herb garden with rosemary, thyme, and basil to save counter space and add some flavour to your room and your dishes. The bedroom is the space where you spend the longest time without going outside, so get that air purified. Rubber trees are simple, striking, and can handle all levels of sunlight. 

This may seem like an odd suggestion but have you ever tried hanging eucalyptus in your shower? The steam will release the natural oils to fill the bathroom with a beautiful scent to clear your mind and help you wake up in the morning. Finally, if your dark hallway seems like it’s not plant friendly, try the Cast Iron or ZZ plants which can handle low-lighting and will survive if you forget to water them.



Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash