Unfortunately, the majority of us won’t get the opportunity to have Monty Don knocking on our door, ready to share his insights on our current garden renovation plans. We also will have to miss out on those big helping hands when it comes to clearing out those unnecessary apple trees — however, that doesn’t mean we can’t pull together our gardening dreams. With the right kind of motivation and inspiration, you can create a trendy, beautiful garden that Monty would surely approve of.
Of course, before starting on your garden, it’s important to peruse basic gardening dos and don’ts. You need a good, solid structure to build off of, and nothing spoils a fantastical garden dream quite like poor planning. If you really struggle then you could always get a gardener.
Going Green With Your Greens
A popular choice these days (as many of us become more conscious of our footprint on Mother Nature) are sustainably minded gardens. Sometimes, you might have to get a bit creative in order to make a sustainable garden or yard work — but it’s worth it.
The first, perhaps most important, factor to consider for your new sustainable garden is your watering needs. Reducing the amount of water you use for your garden is an incredibly valuable way to preserve the vital resource and cut down on the amount of time spent watering your plants and other foliage. Certain flowers, herbs, and trees require less water to maintain such as lavender, succulents, and Chinese rose (they’re also a lovely addition to your curb appeal).
Another important sustainable component that you’ve likely watched Monty and rookie gardeners handle are edible plants. Planting food is not only rewarding, but it’s great for the environment (and your neighbours if you want to share). Moreover, garden boxes can be sustained all year round and provide delicious, healthy, and seasonal additions to your pantry. It’s also possible to plant flowers and herbs between your fruit and veg, giving you the best of both worlds.
Building a sustainable garden can also encourage you to find more green alternatives for other areas of your home. Investing in solar panels, getting new or upgrading to energy-efficient appliances, reducing your water waste, and starting a compost bin are all great ways to reduce your impact on Earth. Starting with your (soon-to-be luxurious) garden might be just the inspiration you need.
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As many successful gardeners know, you need pollinators to pay plenty of attention to your plants if you want to maintain a healthy, rich space. Think of your garden as a bug hotel that helps bees and other insects thrive. Not only is it beneficial to your garden, but also to the overall health of the bee populations (remember: no bees, no honey!).
Planting flowers that attract bees can be a win-win for everyone. As some flower experts suggest, “Variety is the spice of bee life … have at least four different species flowering at any given time throughout the year … Exercise variety in the flowers’ shapes and length tubes.” They also add that “Bee-loving plants are better in groups. Plant them in clumps with one-meter diameters if you can, in layers or at least in multiple numbers to attract the most bees for your efforts.” Don’t forget to quench bees’ thirst with soaked rocks, pebbles, or sand near the base of your plants. Pollen makes bees thirsty, but be sure not to overfill the base or you run the risk of drowning them.
Healing Gardens (Not Just for Hospitals)
On one episode of “Big Dreams, Small Spaces” you might remember the couple Emma and Josh and their son Noah, who has Down syndrome. The couple turned their once unattended garden into a delightful, sensory-filled garden for their son to explore. They focused on sight, smell, and sounds, and ultimately created a gorgeous, therapeutic space for the whole family. This is a great idea to borrow for your own space.
Used in hospitals and even offices, healing gardens are not necessarily a new concept, but they are certainly trending as more and more people begin to understand their healing properties. Duquesne University furthers this point by explaining that creating a connection with nature and other calming environments can help with a better mind-body relationship. This kind of mental focus can ease the physical symptoms of anxiety, lower blood pressure, as well as lower respiration and heart rates.
While you might not have the budget just do exactly what Emma and Josh did for their family, you can still incorporate some healing elements. What smells invigorate you? What colours stimulate your creativity? What sounds encourage mindfulness? This is your space — you might as well utilize it as well as you can and make it into a family activity by getting the kids involved just like these bloggers.
Until you can enjoy the help of Monty Don, borrowing from current trends can turn your garden into something worth spending time in. Whether you’re taking on the project for a more sustainable way of living or to relieve anxiety, taking on a new gardening project is easier than you might think. Good luck!