Gardening could be something you grow into, or maybe it's something we all need a little help with along the way. I first got into gardening through a case of having to when I bought my previous house that came with a Very Overgrown Garden. I had no idea what I was doing, but luckily dad was on hand to guide me - and do a lot of the work.
Many of you tell me you have no idea on where to start with gardening, sadly I can't lend you all my dad. He'd be very willing you understand (and at times mum would be happy to send him your way too) but I have the next best thing for you and that's this Extremely Busy and Important Person's Guide to Gardening. The Scotts Miracle-Gro company created this "blagger's guide to gardening" because 61% of Brits say they avoid gardening as they deem it too complicated. Or maybe it's because they don't have my dad on hand to help get them started...
It's true that there is a bit of gardening lingo that those in the know often try to bamboozle you with, but this guide aims to help you overcome that so you will be able to "talk the talk" with neighbours, friends and family and well anyone really.
It's designed along the lines of those popular Ladybird Books for Adults which always make me smile and it also draws on a range of gardening guides from author and botanist Dr D G Hessayon, and as well as the guide there's plenty more useful information over at www.lovethegarden.com/littlegreenlies
The guide is split into three sections: lawns, plants and weeds.
Let's start with my speciality, weeds!
Every gardener and every garden has weeds. Don't let them tell you otherwise. Really. Even the most preened National Trust gardens have them, I know because I look out for weeds when we visit gardens and it's always reassuring, and I might just do a little dance of joy.
Scotts Miracle-Gro sent me products to tackle each section of the guide, for the weeds there was this rather large vat of Weedol Pathclear. And it was perfect to help us tackle our front garden.
It's powerful stuff and prevents new weeds appearing for up to three months, which even in my book is a big win. As with any chemicals it's important to read the instructions carefully and avoid getting it onto yourself.
Here you can see MOH taking it all very seriously.
Now if you're wondering what the toothbrush-like attachment is for (tip: it's not a toothbrush) then this is another fabulous work saving innovation, the power sprayer. While using your forefinger to operate a manual spray doesn't sound overly onerous, I think it depends on how many weeds you have, and how much of a workout your forefinger wants. This device is battery operated and makes spraying weeds easier for your forefinger, and helps you to get the weedkiller exactly where it should be, with three 'flow' settings.
It's worked well on these smaller ground level weeds and some moss which started to grow on our driveway, and if you have weeds that you want to zap I'd recommend getting them early. I have a few larger weeds and they've been a bit more resistant to its charms, but not for much longer I hope.
So, moving onto plants
With the weeds under control it's time for the part of gardening I find the most rewarding. The plants. The bits that make our garden look like a garden, rather than an outdoor rectangular space. They're how we can stamp our personality on a garden, and my tip here if you don't know what to grow is to take a look at gardens near yours. You'll start to see plants cropping up regularly in those gardens, and that's a good indication that this plant will also grow in your garden.
Your next challenge is to work out what it is. The easiest way is probably to take a photo and either search for it online or show a friendly person at the garden centre and ask for their help. Everyone likes to share their knowledge, right?
Where the Miracle-Gro All Purpose Plant Food comes in is that it's the easiest way to feed and water your garden so you can grow spectacular flowers, bigger vegetables and so on. I mean imagine if you were a happy plant in a garden centre being regularly fed and watered and then you were bought, planted in a new space and then left to fend for yourself. Exactly.
You'll not be surprised to know that dad's a fan of feeding his plants, and as he has some spectacular results in his Norfolk garden, which can't just be put down to "good soil" I think he's got a point and we should all feed our plants, and give them the help they need.
And so to lawns
You'll know grass - and circles - have been a major project for us this year, and grass, or lawns, are very important in our gardens. Whether they have bald patches where the goal has been or maybe the dog has been, or in our case where the squirrel has started digging, they can prove to be very emotive things lawns.
Grass quite happily grows in most places, and often ends up growing in places you don't want it to as well. We've got some bald patches in ours where we need to give it a bit more attention, but generally it grows, and often there's weeds and moss in there too. There definitely is in ours. This EverGreen Complete 4 in 1 Lawn Weed & Feed aims to help making it easy to feed lawns for thicker, greener grass and killing weeds and moss all at once.
As with any pesticides it's important to read the label and follow the instructions. My challenge here has been the weather and enough good weather when we've been around. After all the rain, the grass has grown, so understandably MOH has wanted to cut it, that's meant no lawn feed for 2-3 days and then of course the rain has been back, or we've been out.
So I've yet to try this but I am keen to see how it goes. The pack says the moss and weeds will go black, so that's something to be aware of, and that any grass blackening is temporary. I'm running out of potential good days to try this out, but I'll be sure to let you know how this goes.
So if gardening scares you, take a look at the guide and let me know what you think, because gardening really isn't - or shouldn't be - an exclusive world for the knowledgeable, and if all else fails perhaps you can open negotiations with my mum to borrow my dad!
* This is a collaborative post but all views are my own