Updated: Dec 12, 2021
Okay so you want to get started in your garden or always state that ‘your garden is too small to do anything in’. Well, whether you want to become a green fingered know it all, miniature farmer, help the bees or just love the beauty of a garden and want to enhance this as much as possible the size of your garden should not stop you. I understand that you can run into a problem if your garden is not the larges size but this should not stop you from making the most of it. Additionally, if you have no garden at all you can still do a lot to grow some wondrous plants. Today's, technologies and methods able you to fully utilise your property to meet all your growing needs. Examples of amazing use of small space can be highlighted in the famous Chelsea Flower Show, which although it may still be bigger than your backyard shows you some amazing things you can achieve in a confined space. I am writing this not just from a research perspective but as I have recently moved into my own property the garden is a bit limited on space. So if you are in a similar position such as those on new housing development with ever shrinking gardens or you only have a small balcony on your flat or you have no garden at all; here is my advice and tips you can use to get the most out of your limited area:
This is defiantly the best option and easy to do. Although the area of your garden may not be the greatest but you still have the space upwards. You can add a lot of space to your garden by utilising vertical space throughout your garden. You can implement some of the following methods:
Stacking system – You can now get pots that can stack on top of each other and then grow all around them. Stack them to a height that suits you and put in a number of plants you want.
Rack system – This is similar to the stacking system but is racked, meaning it is often not on top of each other and takes up a little bit more space. However, can be great use of space and allows you access to your plants without bending down.
Trellis – A trellis is a framework that can be used for climbing plants to attache to. Add one to provide some green up your walls or fences.
Wall mounted – There are many systems that can be implemented onto the wall or fence and then have a number of pots or troughs added to them to grow in.
Hanging pots – Much like the wall mounted system, wall hooks can be put on the wall and stunning pot full of flowers can hang on them.
High plants – There are a large number of plants that naturally grow upwards, so get a few of those to add more colour to your garden.
Don’t stick to the back garden:
This is a frustrating one because it is so obvious but often overlooked. You can utilise your front garden just as much as your back. In many cased your front garden could even be larger than your back, so why not make the use of this space. However, there are is a ton of space that you can use and plant a large number of plants in. Whether you are putting in some flowers beds or adding a large shrub, start planting in your front garden. Although it is rare it can even be used to grow any fruits or vegetables, so make sure to use this space.
Don’t stick to the outside:
Okay, you have got as much use out of your garden or you don’t have a garden but you still want to grow many plants. Well simply, move inside where there is tons of space you can use. Even though part of gardening is being outside and enjoying the sun you can still bring some of that beautiful and usefulness indoors. You can grow a great amount indoors to brighten up your space and create amazing ‘décor’ to improve your home. Additionally, you can grow a number of plants that you can eat and grow; most the herbs I grow are indoors. Implementing plants into your life has been shown to have many psychological improvements to the people who view them, so even if you don’t have a garden you should defiantly add some plants into your house.
Now this can be anything and even included the above I have mentioned but you should really try to think outside the box. You could turn your shed into a green roof or creating a platform above a bin areas to other elaborate and interesting structures all designed to make more space for you to grow whatever you want.
Get an allotment:
Finally, if you don’t have a garden at all or it is extremely lacking space, get on a list to get an allotment. An allotment is often quite cheap and can be used for the majority of your garden needs or desires. They can be considerable size, come with a shed, maybe even a green house and is perfect to grow fruit and veg. A bonus with this is that there is often many people their who can also help you with whatever you want to grow.
I want to see more people get out and enjoy the environment, wildlife and importantly plants. Not just for the benefits of the environment and wildlife but also due to the psychological and health benefits many studies have stated and that I believe you can get from viewing plants. However, I am sure you are already interested in growing your own food, beautiful flower and other plants but may be struggling to achieve this due to the space you have. Well don’t let anything stop you and make the most of what you have through using some of my tips above. Whether you use vertical space, bring it indoors, get an allotment or come up with a new place to grow what you love. Whatever it is make sure to get growing. Send me what you have done to make the most of your space via my Social Medias (Up there, right corner!).
Updated: Dec 18, 2021
The importance of bees should be without question and many of you may already know why we should save them. However, even now as it is slowly (too slowly) being brought to our attention the reasons why we need to pay more attention to their numbers and the fact they are depleting shows we need to do more. Before I go on, to clarify, bees are important because through their goal to obtain pollen and nectar for food, they pollinate millions of plants in the process. This is important because this leads to the production of seeds for more plants to grow and even for the fruit to develop for us to eat. If your still not convinced the reason this is important is because these plants produce the oxygen we breathe and help to combat the large amounts of carbon emissions we produce. Further to this, there are the millions of plants that are gorgeous to look at and should be able to survive in an environment that is theirs as much it is ours, that also gives our wildlife a home. So for this reason we need to help the bees to not just survive but thrive, making the bigger question ‘how can we help the bees?’
Here’s, how you can help the bees today!
There can many steps to help bees without invest a lot of time and money in becoming a full time beekeeper or devoting your life to their development. There are many easy measures you can take that will contribute to their success. Here are a few of them:
Try not to kill them:
Sounds silly I know but a lot of people are afraid of bees and more so getting stung by them. This is completely rational but that doesn’t mean you should swat, hit or squash them or take a hose to their nest because you think they are too close to your house or your space. The very least thing you can do is leave the bees be and if they have intruded too much then get a professional bee keeper who will often be happy to collect the bees to take them to a safer and better place for them to start a colony.
Now, this doesn’t have to be a hive in your back garden but there is more than one type of bee (solitary bees). You may have seen them in shops but you can get small bug huts, which is great for solitary bees. Otherwise, you could take up bee keeping and invest in a bee hut. Before you panic though, investing in a bug hut does not invite a swarm of bees in your back garden but provides a habitat for insect to rest and stay. This includes insect that pollinate your garden, importantly the solitary bees, which make up over 90% of the UK’s bee species. Look for a spot that catches the sun in the morning but remains a shady and cool place all day, which gives cover from predators (birds, snakes, rats). Also, ensure that the bug hut sits in a position it will not receive too much rain and allows for water to drip away and not sit, which could potentially drown the occupants.
There are many plants that help bees through the amount of pollen and nectar they offer and the longevity of the plant throughout the year. By providing these in your garden you are helping the bees to to collect the pollen and nectar they need. Some of my top choices are lavender, Dahlia, Foxgloves, Sweet Williams, bluebells, Sunflowers and Thyme just to name a few. If you want some more information on some of these, please go to my post on “Top Plants for bees”
In the summer bees work incredibly hard. This can lead to them running out of energy and becoming dehydrated. You can help them though by providing a pit stop for them to rehydrate and to give them an energy boost. To do this make a sugar water solution (RSPB suggest two tablespoons of white granulated sugar with one tablespoon of water) and put it on a small plate or spoon in your garden. This rehydrates the bee and gives it energy to continue on its task of collecting pollen and thus pollinating your plants. However, be careful not to have the water too deep, as the bees may drown. If you do this, be sure to send me a picture or video of your bees with #feedthebees.
Support your local beekeeper:
If you want to continue and go the extra mile give your support to your local beekeeper. This can be through donations to them, buying their raw and natural honey or buying their other bee products. This will often taste better than mass produced honey, is better for the environment and means the beekeeper can obtain more hives, meaning more bees for the environment in your area. If possible, support a beekeeper who does not use a smoker to be more ethical.
Promote the bee:
Finally, try to promote the bee as much as you can. I don’t think it’s best to go around “preaching” about bees but if it comes up into conversation always try to persuade people to do more. Especially, if you have kids get them to recognise the importance of bees, so the next generation has a better understand of how and why you should take care of them. Even buying products with a bee symbols can increase their prominence and hopefully make people take more notice of these beautiful and amazing creature and all they do for us.
One more thing to note is to be wary of the products you purchase and the impact this may have on bees. For example many fruit and vegetables are sprayed with pesticides that kill bees, so should be avoided at all costs. However, I hope I gave you something to think about and some easy and useful ways you can help bees. Always try to remember what bees do for our planet, plants and agriculture and to implement some of the tips above to help them thrive. Anyway, I would love to see what you have done, so make sure to send me pictures and videos of how you have helped bees on my social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) with #supportthebees #Helpthebees #Bee-kind #feedthebees #plantforthebees and any other tags that will get more people’s attention.