new to gardening - where do I start?

(8 Posts)
Playduh Mon 23-May-16 13:09:35

Am very fortunate to be the relatively new owner of a lovely cottage garden. At the moment I am utterly clueless and I've been paying a gardener a small fortune to look after it for me.

I've had a tiny bit of success growing herbs (thanks to previous MN advice) and now I have some time on my hands, I am tempted to try something else. I haven't the confidence to say I'm firing the gardener and taking up gardening just yet.

So, if I wanted to learn the basics of gardening, where would be the best place to start? I learnt to cook using magazine subscription and a few classes, could I do the same here?

I'm hoping to finish learning when they wheel me out of here in a box, so not expecting miracles in five minutes smile

TIA

shovetheholly Mon 23-May-16 13:58:55

Oh God, the entire gardening forum is going to shoot me for mentioning this yet AGAIN but Alan Titchmarsh's 'How to be a Gardener' DVD is really good. You can see him doing stuff instead of following static pictures in magazines.

There really is no substitute for getting stuck in. You have an established garden, which is much less work than creating something from scratch -so you are in a great position to 'learn on the job'!!

This is a personal thing but I find magazines less useful in gardening than cooking, because you already have plants in your garden - so it can be a bit like getting a load of recipes of how to cook beef when you're a vegetarian who wants to make tagine. grin It might be more useful to identify what you have, and what it needs - most flowering plants are fairly unfussy and just need a bit of attention a few times a year rather than constant fuss. A lot of veg plants, on the other hand, are divas!!

fiorentina Mon 23-May-16 14:02:01

There are lots of useful websites such as the RHS one for example with plant finders and advice on soil, aspect etc. You can learn a lot from there and find out more about what you already have.

I've learned lots from others and also this is a great board for queries. Good luck!

MadSprocker Mon 23-May-16 16:04:47

Look at what aspect your garden is, does it face north/south etc. How much sun does it get during the day. What is your soil like? Dry, clay, stony etc is it acid or alkaline soil? Knowing this information will save you £££ so you don't buy plants that won't work. A lot is trial and error. I am finding learning to prune different plants at the correct times of year the trickiest thing.

thejoysofboys Mon 23-May-16 16:19:09

I follow Alan Titchmarsh's book - the Gardener's Year (or something like that). It tells you what to be doing in your garden each month. Also RHS guides such as Plants for Places are good for choosing new shrubs.
Are you home when your gardener comes round? You could ask him to spend half an hour teaching you something new each visit so you learn how to look after your garden yourself over time.

HeyMacWey Mon 23-May-16 16:22:28

If you want to learn stuff throughout the year then how about looking at the gardeners world magazine (and the TV programme)

Little and often is a good starting point - having an established garden is brilliant because it's about maintenance. You could ask your gardener what needs doing where and when as homework until their next visit.

Cathpot Mon 23-May-16 18:05:24

Hi- slight hijack but I've seen the Alan Titchmarsh's DVD suggested on here before but when I look for it I can only find the book or VHS. Any ideas where to get it?

How about still paying your gardener but getting them to show you how to do whatever they are doing?

Playduh Tue 24-May-16 17:47:51

Thanks all! Had a nose at the RHS site and the Alan Titchmarsh ones.

Started with some weeding, I'm looking a bit tidier at least!

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