Learn to garden with Mike. #GardeningMadeEasy

Over the past fifteen weeks of COVID-19 lockdown, I have shared my garden, live, every Friday morning on Instagram. My ‘Weekly Wander‘ has allowed me to showcase my garden as it has grown away and burgeoned through the season. Every week an enthusiastic gathering of gardeners (is there a collective noun for lots of gardeners?) has tuned in and watched my garden’s progress. Along the way (he said, avoiding the much overused word ‘journey’) trug-loads of gardening questions have been put to me.

Mike’s ‘Weekly Wander’ – Week 14

Watch Mike’s ‘Weekly Wander’ – Week 14 by clicking this link.

It occurred to me that there are many, many aspiring amateur gardeners out there. Gardeners who want a beautiful green space of their own, no matter what the size. Whilst I trained professionally as a gardener, I clearly remember my very early days of making mistakes (and there were many), muddling through and trying to do my best. It was hugely frustrating at times. Things were different in those dark, ‘Neanderthal’ days (yes, I really am THAT old). There was no Instagram. There was no easily accessible community of gardeners on Facebook. I had Alan Titchmarsh in my lounge on a Friday evening for half an hour, but he seemed not to notice that I had my own specific questions, individual concerns and associated problems.

And so I am introducing #GardeningMadeEasy.

My idea is not rocket science, it’s been done before in various guises, I suspect. #GardeningMadeEasy is about sharing my love, passion and knowledge of gardening and plants with others. I certainly don’t know it all, but I know a fair amount and I love chatting (as you will have noticed) and sharing that knowledge with fellow gardeners.

Whether you are a complete newbie to gardening or looking to increase your existing gardening knowledge and skills I will be here to help.

#GardeningMadeEasy will be driven by the gardening jobs that need to be done right now to help your garden, your pots, containers and hanging baskets flourish. There will be:

  • Easy to follow, live Instagram demos and talks with the experts
  • Helpful IGTV videos, and
  • Plain English blog posts

I will aim to demonstrate, explain and de-mystify some of the gardening basics and some of the more complex tasks that budding amateurs will want to strive to achieve.

Amongst MANY gardening topics I will explain:

  • Confusing gardening terminology
  • Different composts and soil improvers and when & how to use them
  • How and when to feed and fertilise plants
  • Pruning and propagation
  • Pests & diseases and how to use them effectively.

I’ll also be lifting the lid on some garden design tricks of the trade, which you can use in your green patch.

I’ll not be able to cover everything, of course, but you’ll be able to message me with any problems you are struggling with.

If this is something that will be of interest to you, please SUBSCRIBE to my blog (www.mike-palmer.com) and my Instagram feed (@mikepalmer01) to see all details of live demos and talks, IGTV videos and blog posts and SHARE with all of your gardening family and friends.

Thank you.

Mike

When life throws us thorns, look for roses

After years of being beaten around my shell-likes with ‘Brexit’ and wishing I hadn’t ever heard the word, I, like many of you will probably be thinking what a joy it would be to have the ‘B’ word back, loud and proud instead of this new, dreaded ‘C’ word, Coronavirus. The Coronavirus global pandemic has thrown our world into a melting pot of fear, uncertainty and anxiety.

And, lurking under the belly of Coronavirus, a creeping anxiety has quietly taken many of us hostage. Nagging doubts, worries and a fear of the unknown haunt us in the early hours and well beyond.

Everybody’s talking about ‘social distancing’, ‘self-isolation’ and ‘lockdown’ with a scarily practiced ease. Three weeks ago these phrases weren’t even in our vocabulary.

Much has been written about the many benefits of gardening for those living with anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. And so now, in the midst of this perturbing pandemic, more so than ever before, we may all acquire a slightly better understanding of how life consuming these problems can be for many people. So many of us have already admitted to feeling the anxieties of this situation.

Gardening isn’t for everyone, I understand that. A significant percentage of people I have gardened or created gardens for have reaffirmed that belief, ‘I don’t like gardening, but I want a nice garden to spend time in’. I’ve heard these words so many times. But gardening doesn’t have to be the fully immersive, all consuming pastime some make it.

Mowing and edging the lawn, a spot of light weeding or deadheading the daffs is a great way to start. Little and often, gently reconnecting with nature. It’s incredible how just ten minutes of pottering around a garden can mollify a muddled mind or soothe the stresses and strains of day-to-day life. The combination of breathing in fresh air and listening to the birds twittering, happily in neighbouring trees. The frothy pinks, creams and whites of blossom are just beginning to sparkle on the bare boughs of flowering cherries, butter yellow primroses nestled down in our borders, pots or verges. Dazzling daffs nodding their heads to welcome in another long awaited spring. You’ll be quickly transported to ‘another place’. Somewhere calmer, quieter and altogether more tranquil than the worrying ‘here and now’ of our hectic, pressure-laden lives.

For the (ever so slightly) more adventurous, sowing seeds for flowers in our gardens or produce for the veg patch with the kiddies (or without!) is so rewarding. It’s educational and so easy.

Don’t be afraid of your garden. The worst you can probably do is cut off this years flowers, which in the overall scheme of things, at present, is small fry! However, the internet and social media is full to bursting with eager gardeners (like me) with helpful ‘how to’ videos and illustrated guides taking you through all manner of gardening jobs.

But, if gardening is still not your thing then try a wander up the garden path, broom in hand, a much-needed lick of paint on the garden fences or just sitting there with a cuppa, or a chilled Pinot Grigio. You will feel so much better for it.

Things will eventually return to ‘normal’; a new normal, admittedly. Hopefully, some things will change for the better after this. Already a heart-warming sense of community is beginning to emerge.

And we will get back out into our gardens with friends and family. We will go out to restaurants and eat good food, and drink, and laugh. But we will always remember this time.

“Sometimes when things are falling apart, they may actually be falling into place”