'Get Set Grow' this May

Gardening is good for you, and so is growing your own food. But growing anything yourself gives an inordinate amount of pleasure, doesn’t it? Whether it’s runner beans or sunflowers with the kids, flowers to brighten up your space or fruit and veg to eat, the process is enthralling each time.

But it’s also beneficial to our health and wellbeing. It’s rewarding and productive, provides exercise, and if you’re growing edibles eating freshly picked, homegrown, organically grown produce is a way of keeping healthy and saving money too, not to mention the complete lack of air miles.

This is my new monthly linkup, where you can share your gardens and/or gardening posts (old or new) that complement the month’s theme. For May, that’s Get Set Grow.

The linkup will stay open all month, so pop back if your post isn’t published yet, and remember you can link up an old post too.

MAY: GET SET GROW

MAY: GET SET GROW

Get the harvesting high!

Researchers have found that seeing, smelling and picking fruits and berries can release dopamine from the brain’s reward centre, resulting in a feeling of mild euphoria and wellbeing. So there’s the perfect excuse to hit the PYO farms when they open later in the month!

Eat the rainbow

We know that we should be eating five a day, or up to ten a day depending on what advice is flavour of the day, but there’s also benefits to eating different coloured fruits and vegetables as they contain varying beneficial ingredients:

  • Red: Tomatoes, red onions, rhubarb chard, peppers, chillies, strawberries and rhubarbs

  • Orange: Carrots, squash and pumpkin

  • Yellow: Golden courgettes and tomatoes, sweetcorn, yellow beans and peppers

  • Green: Asparagus, spinach, peas, beans, mangetout, rocket, lettuce and salad leaves, kale, cabbage, cucumber and pak choi

  • Blue: Blueberries

  • Purple: Beetroot, broccoli, aubergine, purple beans and asparagus, red cabbage, radish and plums

  • White: Cauliflower, celery, leeks, onions, garlic, shallots, spring onions, potatoes.

Plants of the moment for summer displays and crops

Flowers: Nemesia - I’m sure you’ll know what these look like if you google them, Poppy varieties, Pinks, shrubs including Berberis, choisya, ceanothus with its lilac blue flowers, weigela, lilac and many viburnum.

Young seedling plants: tomatoes, peppers, chillies, cucumbers, strawberries, courgettes and squash.

But there’s dozens of other crops such as salad leaves, beans, rocket, spinach, beetroot and carrots which can be grown from seed, which is even better value.

I now have some seed compost, and I’ve got plenty of seeds, all I need to do is put them together and let the magic happen, what about you?

“TheGardenYear

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Putting the Ultimax gardening gloves to the test

* This item was gifted by Town & Country
It must be said I’m a fan of pink gardening gloves. My regular go to gardening gloves are pink, and are also by Town & Country. They’re reliable, but somehow I do seem to go through quite a few, and I’m not quite sure why. While I do always wear gloves while gardening, I don’t think I go through them due to some kind of extreme gardening, it just seems to be the way it goes.

I always revert to buying the same sort - or style? (do gardening gloves have style, now that’s a whole other question I’m sure!), because I know they fit. They don’t have overly long fingers which mean they’re useless, and of course they’re pink. I mentioned before I like a pink gardening glove or two. Actually two gloves are better than one…

So when Wilkinson Sword offered me a different type of (thankfully pink) gardening gloves, I was sceptical. But then again, they were pink and so I thought I could definitely give them a go. And last weekend I did.

Ulitmax gardening gloves by Town & Country

I needed to dig my way into the greenhouse, which had become another storage space for our winter garden. And while I wasn’t expecting it to be mucky, I know what I’m like, and so the gloves went on. The blurb on the label says that these Ultimax gloves have “an innovative design offering an extremely close fit for unequaled dexterity.”

A rather full greenhouse

The palm of the gloves do look very high tech - there’s textured pads for grip and extra protection. And while the photo below looks as if there’s holes in the fingertips of my first two fingers, there isn’t, that’s the texture pads. You can see it more clearly on the thumb in the photo below.

ultimax - padded but still flexible

The gloves did fit well, the velcro fastening at the wrist kept them on, and I was able to pick things up that perhaps I wouldn’t have in my other pink gloves. I’m not sure I’d be able to sow tiny seeds in these gloves, but then again I’m not sure I’d want to. Even me, who’s someone not keen on having mucky hands, thinks that sometimes you have to feel the soil, and sowing seeds is one of those times.

IMG_2963.jpg

Thankfully there was nothing nasty or slimy lurking in my greenhouse and it wasn’t long before I’d cleared a space and found a new home for the things I’d moved. Something - a squirrel perhaps - had been in the greenhouse as pots had been disturbed and overturned, but whatever it was seems to have moved on.

The only downside for me with these gloves is the labels (see the photo above). They’re quite large, and while I’m glad this size label isn’t on the inside as that would most likely be uncomfortable, I’m not sure what value these labels add. They stand out literally and visually and I suspect I’ll be cutting them off as I found them distracting - but then again I’m not much of a label lover, and regularly cut them out of clothes too, so it could just be me, but if they were half the size then I think they’d be less intrusive.

Much clearer

I’ve still some more to do in here - including sowing some seeds and rearrange the benches so there’s more space to move in here, and hopefully incorporate some more growing space too. But these new Ultimax pink gloves are a keeper, and on their first outing had quite a workout.

A good day's gardening

Overall, it’s a thumbs up from me.

* While this item was gifted by Town & Country, I was under no obligation to share it here on my blog.


'Get creative with colour' this April

Gardening is good for you, that’s the message from the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) who have a year long campaign to persuade more of us to get out into our gardens, to enjoy our spaces and perhaps perk them up a bit too. 

I can’t quite believe it’s April already, the year seems to be running away with us.  In my own garden I’ve hardly made it out there much yet and I’m not quite sure why.  I suspect partly it’s due to the weather - it has been lovely the last couple of weekends, but we’ve been out and about so it’s also partly down to weekend plans.  Unusually I don’t have any seeds sown yet either, but I also know with my north-facing garden, which takes a little longer to warm up, that I should be ok as long as I get started soon.

And because I also believe that gardening is good for us I’m planning to share more of the #GIGFY campaign for the rest of the year.  So, on the first of every month, pop back and see the theme for the month and how they promote gardening, health and wellbeing activities.  Every month I’ll also host a linkup where you can share your gardens and/or gardening posts (old or new) that complement the month’s theme.  For April, that’s Get Creative with Colour.

APRIL: GET CREATIVE WITH COLOUR

APRIL: GET CREATIVE WITH COLOUR

Using colour in your garden

You’ll know I’m an advocate of colour, and so this is the perfect month for me to start sharing the ‘gardening is good for you’ with its colourful theme.  I’d like to say I planned it like this, but I didn’t - I only learnt about this at the Garden Media event I went to at the end of February...

Using colour in your garden is as easy as using colour in your house. It’s that simple, although you’ll also know I think we can play it too safe with our interiors choices. So if that’s you, then going a bit wild with colour in your garden is the perfect way to rebel. I mean, have you seen some of the colour clashes that nature puts together, and which just work?

For somewhere bright and uplifting choose a colour palette with red, gold, yellow and orange – all colours with energy and warmth. Planted in bold bocks around a patio, and matched with furniture in equally uplifting colours, they’ll produce a joyful place socialise outside.

In contrast, create somewhere calm and relaxing using cool colours like blue, mauve and violet, set against a backdrop of green, and perhaps adding pure white and silver for a clean, tranquil effect. With soft chairs to sink down into you’ll create a peaceful and restorative space to sit out and meditate.

Different colours can influence on your emotions in different ways:

  • Red: bold, bright and stimulating, exciting and eye-catching
  • Orange: warm and vibrant, happy and fun
  • Yellow: cheerful and welcoming, positive and stimulating
  • Green: fresh, natural and calming, peaceful and relaxing
  • Blue: simple, cool, calming and relaxing
  • Purple: striking, powerful and energetic
  • White, grey & silver: pure and simple, clean and classic.

Colour can influence your visual perception of space

By growing bright red plants at the end of a long, narrow garden you can make it appear closer than it actually is, while cool, blue flowers will look further away, giving the impression that the space is larger. Vibrant colours like red and yellow grab your attention, drawing the eye away from eyesores or views you’d prefer to ignore, while pure white and gold shine out on dull days and brighten a shaded spot.

Choosing colour themed displays

You can have fun with colourful groupings or partners, and good planting companions include:

  • Purple and yellow or gold, such as Geranium, Achillea, Rudbeckia.
  • Red, yellow and blue, such as Solidago, Scabious, Camassia, Scilla peruviana.
  • Purple, green and orange, such as Geum, Alchemilla, Campanula, Erysimum, Salvia, Verbascum, Hosta, Euphorbia, Bergenia.

Dont worry about the ‘proper’ names of the plants, a quick look around your garden centre or on the internet will quickly determine what they look like and if you like them. Like other parts of your home, if you don’t truly love it then you shouldn’t include it.

You can find our more about colour therapy in garden design and learn the basics of colour theory to know what looks good using the appropriate link.

Gardens to visit for: colour-themed inspiration

Despite two of these gardens being relatively close and/or close to family, I’ve not visited any of these, so it seems This month would be a good time to put right!  If you’ve visited any of these gardens I’d be keen to see your posts linked below, alongside any that complement the theme.

“TheGardenYear

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