£6 product 'will help you get plant perfection' says gardener

Now is the ideal time to start planting your spring-flowering bulbs
National Gardening Week has been taking place -Credit:Pexels

Starting a garden from scratch is a daunting task, especially for a beginner gardener. Whether it's an unfamiliar garden in a new home or a long-forgotten flower bed, your end goal will be the same - to transform your garden into an outback oasis.

In a bid to help get more Brits into gardening this National Gardening Week (April 29 to May 5) - with this year’s theme being ‘Knowledge is Flower’ - an expert from online retailer of plants and bulbs J.Parker's has shared her top tips for beginner gardeners.

Soil pH levels are the secret to plant perfection

“Different plants thrive in different soils, whether acidic or alkaline. Finding out the pH of your garden soil will help you decide which plants to introduce to your garden. Most garden centres sell DIY soil tester kits, but you can also get them online,” said Hannah Rowson, assistant garden centre manager at J.Parker’s.

“These cost around £6 and can save you money in the long run as plants will be more likely to thrive if grown in the right soil conditions. Meaning that money isn’t wasted on replacing struggling plants.”

Hannah also shared her favourite beginner plants for each soil type: “For alkaline soils, I recommend plants such as Lavender, Honeysuckle, Achillea and Clematis. Plants such as Azaleas & Rhododendrons, Daffodils, Marigolds and Begonias are perfect for acidic soils.”

Plan your garden displays

Hannah said: “Starting a garden is considerably easier when it’s planned from start to finish. Now you know your soil’s acidity levels, you can plan your displays around it.

“If you’re filling a flower bed, growing plants that ascend in height from smallest to tallest is a popular option among gardeners. For example, you can grow bedding annuals at the front of the border, mid-sized plants and shrubs through the midriff and tall perennials at the back.”

Transform your courtyard

Hannah said that those with courtyard or gravel gardens could also become budding gardeners: “If your garden is more courtyard than soil, you can fill it with containers of all sizes with your favourite plants, especially if they’re compact plants like most bedding. Do your research before growing plants in containers though, as they might actually grow quite tall and need a flower bed to anchor them down.”

Invest in the garden tool basics

Before you get too ahead of yourself, you’ll need some basic tools. Think hand spades, forks, and watering cans. All ideal for starting out, especially if you have just a courtyard with containers.

“If you know you’ll have some big clumps of soil to contend with, you could even invest in a large fork and spade to make the job easier,” Hannah suggested.

Tidy up your garden

“Before planting anything, make sure you’re starting from a clean canvas. Get rid of any weeds and obstructive stones. Then, be sure to aerate the soil by turning it with a fork and clean up the borders of the beds,” said Hannah.

Remember that different plants prefer different planting methods

Hannah recommended that beginner gardeners took some time to research different planting methods: “Every plant you buy will have specific planting & growing needs. For example, the way you plant tulip bulbs will be different to how you’d plant dahlia tubers. Spending some time getting to grips with these will help to keep your plants happy, encouraging them to thrive and saving time in the long run.”