Becoming the owner of a garden can be an exiting and daunting experience. First-timers probably have big ambitions for their garden, but realising those dreams is difficult without the know-how. All too often, newbie gardeners play it safe and boring due to a lack of confidence in their abilities.
Research by PlantforLife, an initiative of the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA), has shown that over a third of new gardeners aren’t making the most of their plots due to a lack of skills and confidence. It also found that many novices believe simple tips and advice would boost their confidence and get them planting. In an effort to encourage more homeowners to experiment in their gardens, PlantforLife has teamed up with Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins to produce The Plant Advice Guide . This free, easy-to-use guide is for anyone who wants a blooming garden, but just doesn’t know where to begin.
Collins, who has also appeared on Garden Rivals and Garden Experts , says, “Over 70 per cent of people surveyed by PlantforLife said they would like to know more about gardening, yet when it comes to choosing, planting and maintaining flowers, the names, species and sheer choice can be mind-boggling and slightly daunting.
” The Plant Advice Guide should equip any budding gardener with the basics to get started and see rewarding results.” Avoiding jargon and technical terms, the guide contains clear descriptions of 20 popular flowering plants and shrubs. The plants are listed under their common names and the guide also includes phonetic pronunciations, so people can be confident when asking at garden centres and nurseries. Finally, an easy-to-follow key explains how to plant, maintain and choose the perfect planting companions.
The survey also highlighted that one in four people is not seeking advice at garden centres or nurseries because of not knowing what to ask for. Many just choose plants according to their scent, colour and shape, which risks buying the wrong plants for their garden space. To help, the guide includes space to sketch out a garden plan to take to a garden centre or nursery so it is easier to get expert advice on selecting the right plants and flowers. Andrew Maxted, HTA director of commercial services and PlantforLife spokesperson, says, “PlantforLife is an initiative to get people involved in gardening, regardless of their knowledge or level of skill. The Plant Advice Guide aims to provide them with the confidence, inspiration and know-how to create a garden that will not only enhance their outdoor space, but will also get them more interested in gardening.”
Maxted hopes the guide will highlight how easy it is for novice gardeners to seek advice from knowledgeable and approachable staff at garden centres and nurseries. “We want to encourage people to use that expertise and reap the rewards of watching their gardens blossom and bloom,” he says.