Spring has officially sprung and with the RHS Show about to descend on Cardiff this weekend, it got everyone in the office feeling a little bit green fingered!
But what if you don’t have a garden or outdoor space?
What if the only thing you’ve grown with any great success is mouldy bread?
What if you just don’t know where to start?
We caught up with local gardening expert and blogger, Paul Cartwright and asked him to share a few tips with us.
- What’s your top tip for bringing the outdoors, inside if you don’t have a garden or any outside space?
A popular trend at the moment is to create a mini landscape indoors, rather than simply putting individual plants in different pots in different places. Try creating a mini desert in a larger container to grow cacti, or simply group several potted plants together to maximise their impact. I have some air plants and an orchid growing in the crevices of a large log on a shelf, as these plants would all naturally grow on the branches of a larger tree in the wild.
- Is there a particular flower or plant that you would recommend vendors have in their home to make it look and smell more attractive to potential buyers during property viewings?
One option would be the moth orchids (phalaenopsis) because they look exotic, are easy to look after and flower for months at a time. They don’t have any scent though, but throughout the year you should be able to find something with fragrance you can put in a pot or cut flowers from. In spring there are daffodils and hyacinths, in summer, lilies smell strongly but sweet peas can also be grown from seed in pots and smell wonderful when cut and put in a vase. For autumn you can use tobacco plant (Nicotiana sylvestris) and even in winter hyacinths can be forced to flower if treated the right way.
- We’ve got a few green-fingered members of staff in the Four Walls team, and a couple who, let’s say struggle when it comes to keeping plants alive. What would be your kill-proof recommendation to them?
Nobody can kill a spider plant! Chlorophytum are very resilient and unfussy. Wherever you put them and no matter how much you neglect them they will put up with it! Similarly independent are Aloe vera and Sanceveria, so anyone who wants plants in their home but doesn’t really feel like looking after them should try these.
- Plants can really brighten up a dark corner in a home but what plants survive best with limited/no sunlight?
Whenever you are choosing plants it’s worth asking yourself where it would grow in nature. For a shady place, you need to find plants that naturally grow under larger plants. There are actually plenty of these, but for indoors you also need to find something that can tolerate the warm dry conditions our central heating creates indoors. This is a bit trickier. Again the orchids and spider plants are a good option, but also Calathea, Ivy, Asparagus fern or dryopteris.
- As it’s spring what should we all be doing in the garden now to: a) get it ready for summer and b) make it look pretty now.
If you haven’t already, cut back any dead stems from last year, to make room for new growth this year. Prune anything that looks untidy, (but not anything which is due to flower in spring -wait until after flowering). One of the best things you can do for your garden in spring is mulch – spread a layer of compost a couple of inches deep around your plants. This keeps moisture in, helps keep the weeds down, and improves the soil over time.
Now is the perfect time to add new plants to pretty up your garden. Planting tulips and wallflowers now will add instant colour. Planting summer and autumn flowering bulbs will add colour later for little effort, and you can fill any gaps in the garden with whatever you like the look of. For best results it’s worth looking up the kind of place the plants come from originally in nature so that you find the best conditions for them in your garden. Will they do best in a sunny or a shady spot, a dry one, a damp one etc. “Right plant, right place” is the key to a beautiful but easy garden.
Thanks Paul! You’ve given us a lot of useful tips and ideas there. We’ll make sure to look out for more on your blog.
Paul worked in finance and health and safety for a total of 21 years but gave all that up to become a gardener and garden designer. He grew up in Hampshire but now lives close to Castell Coch in Tongwynlais with his wife and three children, and spends his days helping people improve their gardens. He also runs The Green Fingered Blog https://greenfingeredblog.blogspot.com/ where he shares his ideas for making gardening easier and more environmentally friendly.
The Green Fingered Blog
Saving you time, money and effort with great gardening ideas, for a few pots or a huge plot