Gardening has been proven to relieve stress and provide a host of other physical and psychological health benefits. And urban gardening has been proven to protect built-up areas from extreme heat and cold. Gardening is a rewarding hobby that should be valued for its own sake, and for the enjoyment and beauty that it can bring to people’s lives.
If you want to make your area more beautiful or just grow some herbs and vegetables for your own consumption then this guide is designed for you. These tips come from the expert gardeners at Wyevale Garden Centres, who have dug deep and compiled some brilliant advice for any budding urban gardener.
Make the most of your space
Don’t forget to use your walls and railing – install wires or trellis to grow flowering climbers or climbing beans. What about hanging baskets packed with a tumbling mass of colourful flowers such as calibrachoas and lobelia, or you could try growing fresh vegetables in your hanging baskets such as tomatoes or dwarf French beans. Or even a combination of flowers and vegetables so not only will it look good it will taste good as well!
Gardening in the shade
A problem facing some urban gardeners is shade, as tall buildings can obscure a large portion of the light necessary for some types of gardening. But don’t fret, as you can simply choose the right plants to grow in this environment, as not all plants are greedy for light. You have lots to choose that are specially adapted to thrive in the shade, some have magnificent luscious foliage, other will inject and fragrance colour into your shady spots with coloured leaves and flowers. Avoid grey leaved plants, such as rosemary or lavender, as they need a lot of light. Instead, plant rich green larger leaved plants such as:
Low-light herbs such as mint, parsley, oregano, chives, tarragon.
Low-light flowering plants such as begonias, impatiens, astilbe.
Low-light vegetables such as radishes, most lettuce varieties, spinach, cress, kale.
Low-light shrubs such as sarcococca, maples, cherry laurels, viburnums, hygrangeas.
Low light perennials such as anemone, bleeding heart, Hostas, ferns.
Choose the right soil
This tip could apply to all forms of gardening, but it is more relevant to urban gardeners, who often have tarmacked or paved gardens and have to grow their plants in containers. But don’t be deterred as many types of plants and vegetables will thrive in pots.
Where country gardeners might feel obliged to use the soil already in their gardens, urban gardeners can simply buy in the good stuff. Potting composts are a perfectly balanced mixture of clay, sand, organic matter which not only hold nutrients but also drain very well. Composts are also sterilised so weeds and plant diseases won’t be a problem either.
We hope this guide has inspired you to turn your hand to urban gardening, or helped those who are already trying. Growing your own urban garden brings a little piece of nature into your city or town, and it’s an incredibly rewarding hobby, whether you just grow a few plants or a lot. Happy gardening.