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Discover the best virtual gardens, podcasts and expert advice


By Features Reporter

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With gardening shows cancelled, Hannah Stephenson digs out some virtual inspiration to keep gardeners growing their ideas as well as their plants

The Chase garden, one of the National Garden Scheme's 'virtual' gardens. Picture: Matthew Bruce/NGS/PA
The Chase garden, one of the National Garden Scheme's 'virtual' gardens. Picture: Matthew Bruce/NGS/PA

If you’re yearning for all the gardening shows that have been cancelled, you can still be inspired by exploring gorgeous virtual gardens now and throughout the summer, from the comfort of your armchair.

Not only is the first ever ‘virtual’ RHS Chelsea Flower Show being held through the Royal Horticultural Society website, which will host an abundance of free, inspiring content from the great and the good of the gardening world, from May 18-23, but a plethora of famous TV gardening faces are getting involved in a number of different virtual platforms too, as are other gardening organisations.

Here’s what to look out for…

Explore open gardens – including celebrity ones

You can get a glimpse of gardening guru Alan Titchmarsh’s Hampshire garden through the National Garden Scheme (NGS), which is sharing advice and videos from many of those who would have otherwise opened their gardens to the public this year to raise money for the NGS.

The NGS funds nursing and health charities, and is encouraging us to enjoy a series of gardens ‘virtually’ this year. Filmed mainly by garden owners, the ‘virtual garden visits’ see owners introduce their garden, explain the highs and lows of its creation, and reveal their favourite plants.

Every Thursday, the NGS will release a new collection of virtual garden visits, mirroring how new gardens open every week for the NGS in normal times. You can find them – and the full collection – at ngs.org.uk/virtual-garden-visits

They are asking us to donate to their Help Support Our Nurses appeal – website donations are making up for loss of income while the gardens are closed. Follow the NGS on Instagram @nationalgardenscheme.

Have a garden chat with Diarmuid Gavin

Join Irish favourite Diarmuid Gavin – currently isolating with his family in Co Wicklow – and his gardening pal Paul Smyth, for gardening chat and entertainment on Instagram Live, weekdays at 7pm and weekends 11am, at @garden_conversations.

BBC Gardeners' World presenter Arit Anderson is supporting Garden Day 2020. Picture: James Baily Photography/PA
BBC Gardeners' World presenter Arit Anderson is supporting Garden Day 2020. Picture: James Baily Photography/PA

Take gardening advice from TV favourites

Leading gardening personalities, including Chris Beardshaw, Arit Anderson and Michael Perry aka Mr Plant Geek, are proudly wearing flower crowns for this year’s virtual celebrations in support of Garden Day 2020 on May 10.

There’s still just time to get involved – visit the website to download a toolkit with hints and tips on how to celebrate. Follow @GardenDayUK on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Candide, and share your Garden Day celebrations on social media, using #GardenDayUK.

Find answers in a podcast

There’s a plethora of free podcasts to listen to – all delving into the wonderful world of horticulture.

The Plant Based Podcast puts the spotlight firmly on plants, with influential hosts Michael Perry, aka Mr Plant Geek, and Ellen Mary.

Ellen Mary co-hosts The Plant Based Podcast with Michael Perry. Picture: Ellen Mary Gardening/PA
Ellen Mary co-hosts The Plant Based Podcast with Michael Perry. Picture: Ellen Mary Gardening/PA

On The Ledge podcast with indoor plant expert Jane Perrone, covers a fresh topic each episode with special guests. Gardening doesn’t mean you have to be outdoors – use Perrone’s advice to bring the outside in.

Move in social circles

Feel inspired, learn new tricks and stay up-to-date with all the latest gardening trends across social media. Check out this lot…

Flowers From The Farm (@FlowersFromTheFarm)

If you’ve always dreamed of being a flower farmer, check out this account from the UK’s network of independent artisan flower growers. Flowers From The Farm’s Instagram page features a different flower grower each week, and inspirational bouquets to stir your creativity.

Charles Dowding (YouTube)

Find the knowledge you need to make the most from your crops with expert advice from Charles Dowding on his YouTube channel. Topics include easy soil preparation using the no-dig method, best sowing dates, how to be weed free, and protect your crops from pests.

Huws Nursery (YouTube)

With 15 years’ experience, expert grower Huw Richards shares his top tips to help gardeners harvest the best organic produce from their own gardens. New videos are added each week.

The RHS is aiming to get children growing fruit and vegetables during lockdown. Picture: Luke MacGregor/RHS/PA
The RHS is aiming to get children growing fruit and vegetables during lockdown. Picture: Luke MacGregor/RHS/PA

Dig in for schools

Keep gardening on the homeschool curriculum with a daily RHS School Gardening Club, which provides a wealth of activities for families to get together, play, dig, grow plants and connect with nature, as well as setting weekly lockdown challenges. Find it at schoolgardening.rhs.org.uk.


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