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Top tips for maintaining an urban garden in Heaton (Guest Blog Post)

Thursday February 2, 2017

If your home has a small outdoor space or no garden at all, you may feel as though you don’t have the opportunity to exercise your green fingers. In this article, Nicky Roeber, the in-house horticultural expert at Wyevale Garden Centres, shares his top urban gardening tips — follow these and you’re sure to see success.

Start Small

If you don’t have much gardening experience, start small. Keep things simple in the beginning with a couple of containers or window boxes filled with easy-to-grow plants, and follow the RHS guide to growing plants in containers to get off to the best possible start. Build up your urban garden a few containers at a time so you never get overwhelmed and get put off.

Once you’ve built up the confidence, you can move on to more ambitious garden projects, such as growing your own fruit and veg.

Choose your plants wisely

For the best chance of success, it’s important that you plan your urban balcony, windowsill or garden around the conditions you have to work with. For example, if your space doesn’t see much sunlight, it doesn’t mean you won’t have a lovely show — it just means you have to choose your plants wisely.

The first thing to do before you get gardening is to find out how much sunlight your gardens gets. More than 6 hours of direct sunlight per day means that your outdoor space is in full sun. Areas that get between 3 and 6 hours of sunlight per day are classified as being in partial shade, and less than 2 hours of direct sunlight per day is full shade.

Any areas that get a lot of sunshine can be filled with plants that have lots of flowers and are used to growing in hot dry conditions — argyranthemums, geraniums, calibrachoa and osteospermums are fabulous free-flowering species that are more than happy in a container. Hanging baskets are also a great way of making the best use of limited space.

There are plenty of plants that can help brighten up those shady areas of your garden as well, with begonias, hostas and ferns all thriving in areas that don’t get much light. You can pick up all of these shade-loving plants and everything else you need to start your urban garden at any Wyevale Garden Centres — our Gosforth garden centre is just a ten minute drive from Heaton.

Keep your urban garden low-maintenance

If you work full time, you might not have as much time as you’d like to spend tending to your urban garden. If this is the case, it’s important that you take certain steps at the start if you want your urban garden to stay as low-maintenance as possible.

Choose plants that are drought-resistant and easy to grow, and plant them in big pots – a good rule of thumb is to ensure that the diameter of the pot is around 20cm wider than the diameter of your plant’s rootball when it is first planted. Bigger pots hold more compost and therefore take longer to dry out, meaning you can afford to forget to water them every now and then with minimal consequences. Just make sure your pots have good drainage so the compost doesn’t get waterlogged.

Putting your plants straight into a large container will also mean you won’t need to replant them as often, as they will have plenty of room to grow over the years.

To ensure your yard is in bloom all year round, fill it with a selection of plants from Fine Gardening’s pick of the 10 Best year-round containter plants. This will give you plenty of colour throughout the year without the need of bedding in new plants for each season.

So, there you have it: my top urban gardening tips. Follow these and your yard will be soon be transformed into an urban paradise you can enjoy all year round.

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