One of the best decisions you can make this year is to take up or do more gardening. beginner gardeners
Not only will growing plants improve the look of your home and outside space, gardening has also been proven to be incredibly therapeutic.
Spending time outdoors is thought to significantly reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, and caring for plants or growing produce brings a wonderful sense of purpose, pride and satisfaction.
With so many plants to choose from however, getting into gardening can seem like a daunting prospect.
The best way to get started with gardening is to choose plants that are low-maintenance and will thrive in a wide range of conditions. This means that no matter the size, shape or conditions of your space, you’ll be able to get to grips with the basics of plant care, without running into problems.
To help you choose the first few plants for your new patch, I’ve listed below my top five favourite plants that are easy to grow and will suit nearly all conditions.
An Apple Tree
Yes, that’s right! Apple trees are not just for the seasoned pro.
And they’re also not just for people with acres of space – many dwarf varieties can be grown in a border.
Make sure you buy a self-pollinating tree, such as ‘Laxtons Superb’, otherwise your tree may not bear fruit. Simply ask at your local garden centre and they should be able to help you with this. Apple trees generally like a sunny location, and can be planted during the winter, as long as the ground is not hard with frost.
Apple trees are so wonderful because not only do you get a beautiful blossom in spring, you can also be harvesting your very own homegrown apples through summer and autumn. You also get fabulous autumn foliage colour and the branches are perfect for nesting birds, who will feast on your apples too.
A buddleja is an immensely hardy and low-maintenance flowering shrub.
It produces long spires of small flowers that are known for attracting lots of beautiful butterflies.
Buddlejas are great for putting into beds and borders if you have recently moved to a place with a larger garden or are branching out from container planting.
They can grow very large if left unchecked, so be vigorous when pruning, cutting it back to one or two buds from the old woody growth.
It is usually a cheap plant to buy, and comes in a massive range of colours from white to pinks, reds, blues and of course the classic purple. It is commonly known as the butterfly bush for the amount of butterflies it attracts. A buddleja is happy all soil types and will grow well in a sunny or partially shaded spot in your garden.
A great easy-going shrub to give your garden a vibrant cloud of yellow flowers in spring.
Forsythia requires a sunny spot but is happy in all soil types and aspects.
They’re hardy plants that will survive comfortably in a UK winter and their early spring bloom is a welcome sight before the rest of the garden has woken up.
Again, Forsythia is prone to growing quite large if left to its own devices, so regular clipping back is necessary. It can make a beautiful hedge if clipped annually.
Every garden can benefit from a climbing plant.
Not only do they add visual interest with their variation in height and structure, but they are also fantastic for masking any ugly walls or fences.
If you haven’t grown a climbing plant before then honeysuckle is a fantastic choice to start with.
Honeysuckle will thrive in full sun or dappled shade in any soil type, and is semi-evergreeen, which means it will bring foliage colour to your garden all year round, depending on how hard the winter is.
In the summer it brings beautiful sweetly scented flowers that look delicate but are actually really hardy.
Honeysuckle Halliana is a great variety with white and yellow flowers that have a heady scent.
Or plant Dutch early Belgica and Dutch late Serotina in the same hole for flowers from May to September. They also produce berries that the birds will love.
Herbs are the best plants to try if you want to get into edible gardening.
There’s a real satisfaction in using fresh herbs you have grown yourself in the kitchen. They’re also so easy to grow indoors or outdoors, and can easily be grown in containers to save space.
Rosemary is particularly hardy, will thrive in poor soil and needs very little water. Sage, lavender and mint are also good plants for growing however remember mint can be a little rampant – so may be best in a pot.
Try growing thyme, basil, parsley and oregano together in a warm, sunny border or in pots on the patio. They are relatively cheap to buy and only need a light trim to keep them looking healthy.
I’d love to know which plants you chose to get started in the garden with. Let me know in the comments below or contact me via Facebook and Twitter with pictures of your gardens and projects!