Interest in gardening, whether learning how to create a herb garden or growing flowers from seeds, has skyrocketed since the start of the pandemic last year. People who have never gardened before are doing so for the first time, in huge numbers. According to the Reuters (opens in new tab) news agency, the Royal Horticultural Society has had a five-fold increase in gardening advice questions in the past year, while the US seed company W. Atlee Burpee & Co sold more seeds than at any time in its 144-year history.
These are impressive statistics, but gardening still can be daunting for a complete beginner, even if all do have a bit more time to devote to our gardens. Alan Titchmarsh to the rescue, with easy, no-nonsense tips for those who have zero experience gardening.
Speaking to Grow Your Own (opens in new tab) magazine, Alan identified the key elements of successful first-time gardening, and they all have to do with learning to enjoy the process of gardening first, mastering specific skills second. 'Grow what you like growing' is Alan's top tip for absolute beginners; don't worry about things being difficult to grow, he says, or about vegetables not growing huge the first time round: 'I think a lot of people don’t realise, they wait for broad beans to get big, but when they’re young they are quite tasty.'
Next, the veteran gardener advises to choose a bright, sunny spot for your plants, preferably next to a kitchen window so that 'you can see it when you’re washing up.' Seeing the progress of your planting will be a great motivator, and you can then expand outwards from the window – 'a simple thing, but it does work.'
And if you live in the city and are really stuck for small garden ideas, we would definitely check out Alan's top tip for beginner gardeners from ITV's This Morning. Just take a trough and pot it up with some herbs. You really can't go wrong with this first step in gardening, and, as Alan explains, it's easy to mix and match different herbs, or herbs with flowers. You'll find ideas for the best herbs to grow in your garden in our guide.
As Alan's tips prove, gardening doesn't have to be complicated or expensive; it is for everyone, and you can start by just growing one plant you really like and see how you get on. We bet that by the end of the summer, you'll definitely have more than one.
If you want some inspiration to get you started, check out our guide to growing vegetables in pots. You might be surprised by what you can achieve in just a few containers.
Anna is a keen urban gardener, with David Austin roses and Japanese acers among her favourite plants. She moved into the world of interiors from academic research in the field of literature and urban space a couple of years ago. She's always been interested in how people make houses into homes, and how our concepts of what's stylish change over time.
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