This year we have partnered with six well-known influencers who will be documenting their 2021 gardening trials and tribulations via our blog and social media channels. They will also be sharing top gardening tips and some handy advice on how to use some of our most popular products.
Earlier this month we caught up with one of our ambassadors, Amy from @ChicksandVeg, to find out what got her into gardening and how the hobby has transformed her life.
How long have you been gardening and what made you take up the hobby?
I’ve probably been calling myself a gardener for only a few years now since we moved to our cottage in West Norfolk. That’s when I really started to take in everything I was learning and started to plan my garden to make the most of the space and the seasons. Before that, I used to buy established plants from garden centres and just try and pack things I liked into pots and borders. Don’t get me wrong, I still can’t resist the odd plant when I pop to my local garden centre but I’ve realised how easy it is to grow so much from seed, and how satisfying it is too! I’ve also learnt so much, often the hard way, about growing plants in the right conditions to ensure they stay happy and healthy.
When we moved to our current home 3 years ago the garden was so overgrown and unloved. I began to clear the areas and started gardening out of necessity, to keep on top of it all and to see what we were working with. We didn’t do much more than this for the first season as I wanted to see what was growing naturally, where the light landed, where the frost pockets were and to really get to know the different parts of the garden. Since then we’ve created different areas each with their own purpose and style.
I’ve never really had a hobby until I found gardening and for all of the time and effort I put in, I get so much back.
What are the benefits of gardening? Do you feel gardening improves your mental health?
Gardening is a form of exercise and often without even realising it. It’s great for your physical health digging away and of course, getting fresh air! But it’s wonderful for your mental health too. A few years ago my best friend passed away and the only place I found which focused my mind and kept me busy was my garden. I didn’t realise it at the time but it taught me so much about dealing with things that aren’t in my control (like the great british weather). It also teaches a lot of patience when waiting for those seeds to sprout!
My favourite space has always been the little patch down the end of the garden. It was originally just a mass of gravel with a rickety old shed but this is now my little haven, home to my vegetable beds, greenhouse and of course my purple shed! It’s my space, my place to relax, to potter and to feel so proud of. It’s not perfect – I’m forever moving things, fixing things and painting things! But it makes me so happy and that’s what’s important.
Tips for anyone taking up gardening as a hobby this year
Gardening is a wonderful hobby because you’re always learning. I’m always finding new ways to create a healthier garden, new things to grow and how best to look after my plants. There isn’t an end point with gardening, the jobs are never done and that shouldn’t be seen as a stress or a worry, it should be embraced as something to enjoy! Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, things won’t always go to plan because nature has a wonderful way of doing whatever it likes!
If there’s something I learnt early on to reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed it’s to not sow every single seed you own at once! Often, if it’s veggies, you just won’t be able to eat it all. But watering and caring for hundreds of seedlings can be a laborious task! Sow some and save some back just in case things don’t go to plan. I know everyone says ‘grow what you love’ but i’d also encourage trying to pick a couple of new things to try each season – I’ve discovered so many new vegetables I love to grow and eat!
About the Author
Amy from Instagram’s @Chicksandveg, is one of Hozelock’s brand ambassadors for 2021. Amy started her gardening journey a few years ago having moved to a new home with an overgrown and unloved garden. After the loss of her best friend, she turned to her garden as a way to keep her mind and hands busy. Her love of gardening has become her favourite (and most committed) hobby and she truly believes everyone should experience that feeling of harvesting homegrown veg and picking beautiful blooms.