THE NEW crop of growers who got the gardening bug during the pandemic lockdowns are being encouraged to stick to their good gardening habits as the nation prepares itself for the road map out of restrictions.
Horticultural charity, Garden Organic, is urging beginners and seasoned gardeners alike not to neglect their new green-fingered routines once pandemic restrictions are lifted and has created a series of virtual and in-person classes to inspire and upskill.
Following the first national lockdown, figures from the ONSrevealed that there was a substantial increase in the time spent gardening and doing DIY by 147per cent to 39 minutes a day, while many garden centres and seed suppliers reported their highest ever sales in 2020.
Experts at Garden Organic say the positive impacts of all this extra gardening on the environment and people’s mental wellbeing are evident, and they are supporting gardeners to continue setting time aside for growing and improving skills as restrictions ease.
As part of this, the charity has created a series of affordable online webinars to demystify some of the most common questions, with virtual classes on everything from the principles of organic growing and how to plan your growing plot to encouraging wildlife and growing your own organic winter veg.
The charity has also announced several in-person courses which will take place at its new demonstration garden due to open at Ryton in Coventry in the summer once restrictions have lifted. These events include; ‘The Biodiverse Garden’, ‘The Climate Change Garden’ and ‘Organic Pest Control.’
Garden Organic’s Director of Communications, Hannah Rogers, said traffic to the charity’s website surged last year as people searched for top tips and organic gardening ‘how to’ guides. Now people can learn directly from Garden Organic’s horticultural experts from the comfort of their own sofas or potting sheds.
Emma O’Neill, Head Gardener at Garden Organic, said; “We’ve been absolutely thrilled to see the nation getting giddy about gardening during lockdown and our hope is that this new collective enthusiasm for growing will continue long into the future.
“Although it’s sad that we’ve not been able to meet people face to face in recent months to run workshops, we’re delighted that we can support more gardeners than ever by opening up our expertise to online learners.
“Based on what we know gardeners are most keen to learn about, we have put together a great programme of webinars suitable for all ages and levels of expertise.
“What’s fantastic is that we can meet people from anywhere in the country or even the world who share our love of gardening.
“During these incredibly challenging times, it’s really warmed our hearts to hear how gardening has helped people to cope or given them a focus.
“We’ve been working hard getting our new demonstration garden ready for its summer opening and can’t wait to welcome budding organic growers to our in-person masterclasses and skills sessions later in the year.
“Nothing beats sharing our passion for organic growing face to face, with our fingers in the soil and a soundtrack of buzzing wildlife.
Garden Organic’s virtual webinars, masterclasses and skills sessions at Ryton Gardens are updated regularly on its website at: https://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/events
Online webinars are typically two and a half hours long and cost £25 for members of the charity and £35 for non-members while the masterclasses at Ryton Gardens are typically three hours long, include a tour of the new garden and cost £50 for members and £70 for non-members.
Skills sessions are condensed courses, lasting one hour, and cost £30 for members and £25 for non-members.
* For more tips and advice about organic gardening visit https://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/