3 Jun 2022
He’s a brilliant presenter, accomplished gardener, talented novelist and all-round horticultural inspiration. This month, Alan Titchmarsh talks about the most common mistakes we make in our gardens.
I really enjoy my time spent with the public, chatting about and sharing the passion we all have for gardening and horticulture.
It’s really a subject that is so deep and you can explore it in such a variety of ways… and yet most of the conversations I have with people end up with them asking my advice on the worries and woes that they are experiencing back home in their green spaces!
I’m quick to tell them I don’t have all the answers, particularly when their gardens are several miles away, but I do my best to help.
I always say, as a golden rule, prevention is better than cure, so with that in mind here are my top seven gardening mistakes… and how to avoid them!
Firstly, you can have too much of a good thing! Less is more when it comes to good gardening, and if you cram too much together it’ll look a mess, or worse still, will die!
Another big error is over- and under-watering. Be regimented over your watering routine and adjust it depending on rainfall to ensure your garden is nicely hydrated at all times.
Next, always ensure what you’re pulling up are weeds and not slow-developing flowers. We can sometimes find ourselves being particularly ruthless with what grows in our gardens, so remember, everything grows at a different rate and sometimes the most mundane of plants will flourish to become the most beautiful… but only if they’re left in the ground!
Another big thing is failing to prepare your soil. Give your plants a chance by ensuring the soil they’re in is in good condition. A simple testing kit will let you know if you need to re-compost, add fertiliser, or simply switch to a different soil type.
You should also steer clear of what I call ‘the bullies’! Japanese knotweed and Russian vine are particularly unruly and will literally undermine not just your flowers, but nearby buildings too!
And the same goes for our animal friends. Sure, we may like to see a hedgehog, bird life, even the odd fox, but the best gardens are those that manage to protect the food supply present!
My final piece of advice is to try to spread the love around your garden. Few of us have an endless budget with which to run riot in our green spaces, and it’s better to do a little at a time across the board, than blow it all in one part of the garden, leaving the rest of it looking forlorn and bereft.
Remember, no two gardens are the same, in much the same way that no two gardeners are the same, and you’re never going to get it right all of the time. The most important thing is to be organised and put the effort in – if you do that, the rewards will very often follow close behind.