Gardening for everyone
Rachael Lucas is an author, freelance writer, coach and gardening enthusiast. Her latest book Coming Up Roses is blooming with humour, romance and of course gardening. Check out Rachael's top gardening tips for gardens of any size.
I used to have a 100 foot long garden with huge sweeping borders and a vegetable plot, much like the garden elaine has in Coming up Roses – She's a lifestyle blogger and her place has to be perfect for photoshoots and demonstrations. It didn't start off like that, though – it took eight years of hard work to get it there and then, typically, I moved house.
Now I live in town and have a little walled garden and most of my gardening is done in containers, so I'm a great believer in gardening being something that is in the reach of everyone
You don't have to spend every weekend with your sleeves rolled up to have a garden to enjoy. Even if you only have a little balcony, just a couple of pots and a handful of seeds could see you eating your own cherry tomatoes, or sitting after work surrounded by the delicious smell of night-scented stocks. There are lots of vegetable seeds which are designed for container gardening now, meaning you can experiment one season without having to spend all your time digging out a huge vegetable patch. It's often easier to protect them from wildlife, cats and marauding small children with footballs, too. (That can't just be our house, surely?)
If you do have a bigger garden, though, the secret to getting it under control isn't staring at the weeds in panic before launching in with a trowel. I'm a huge fan of sitting down with a cup of tea (who isn't?) and making a plan. If you take the time to work out where the sun shines and when, you can save a lot of money and effort because you won't be trying to get flowers to grow in a spot that spends most of the day in shade. So sketch your garden, get an idea of what grows and where, and only then start working out how you're going to make it somewhere you like spending time.
My tip is to start with some pretty, low maintenance flowers in pots – geraniums are perfect because they don't take much looking after but they'll flower from late spring right through to the first frosts, and you can cheer yourself up looking at them and ignoring the rest of the work that needs to be done… at least that's what works for me!