Now’s the time to get back into your garden – and not just because the warmth and brightness of spring are here. This month is National Garden Month, giving you another excuse to start sorting out your foliage or even get some new plants. However, sprucing up a garden isn’t just about making it look pretty; by taking up gardening, you can also grow your own food and even improve your health and lifestyle.
What is National Garden Month, anyway?
If you’ve never previously heard of National Garden Month, it’s probably because it’s largely an American thing. The United States’ National Garden Bureau and 23 cosponsoring national horticultural organisations were instrumental in legislating what was initially National Garden Week. On 18th April 1986, the Proclamation was signed by the then-President, Ronald Reagan, leading to the first celebration of National Garden Week from 12th to 18th April 1987.
However, in the early 21st century, the celebration was extended to cover the whole of April – on the initiative of the National Gardening Association. The first National Garden Month was in 2003; however, despite its American origins, it’s clear to see that there are plenty of green-fingered types on this side of the Atlantic who would love to join in with the fun.
If gardening can work for these stars…
Gardeners and researchers can vouch for many benefits of nurturing plants. Those benefits include improving attitudes to health and nutrition, fostering community spirit, and even helping children to excel at school. However, if you doubt the merits even now, consider the stories of people who have decided to basically make gardening their life.
Those people include the ‘80s pop star Kim Wilde. In 2015, she recalled that, despite having clocked up platinum records and toured Europe with Michael Jackson, she was “always plagued with anxiety and it badly affected my mental health.” However, Kim, who won a gold medal for a Chelsea Flower Show garden in 2005, enthused that gardening “has been great therapy for me and can help people get back on top of things when it feels like life is veering out of control.”
Meanwhile, the former Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin is now an urban gardener who grows fruit and vegetables in her California garden. She has cited gardening channels and YouTube as resources that have inspired her own gardening adventures – but you shouldn’t consider only those if you want to start gardening for the first time.
Some quick tips for gardening success
During a 2014 interview, Wilde recommended that beginner gardeners “start small” – even if they just “sow a seed” in “a little pot”. Not too little, though; otherwise, as Coughlin warns, the pot could prevent roots significantly growing and also can’t contain a lot of water, resulting in stunted plants.
Meanwhile, for tasks as routine as cutting grass and trimming hedges or as large-scale as entire garden makeovers, there are plenty of specialists in the North East who can help you to create a garden that will leave a big impression on visitors.