Forget the gym membership; take up gardening instead

Make a fresh start and get out in your garden, says millennial Jamie Butterworth as he shares some of his secrets and tips.

There's nothing like the satisfaction of growing your own food
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It’s a new year and with that comes the annual ritual of making new resolutions and promises, a clean slate with the exciting opportunity for change. As we all know, these self-made promises often never last very long. Whether it’s taking out a new gym membership, healthy eating regimes or taking up a new hobby.

But what if I was to tell you that there is something you can do, from home, for free, that will improve your physical health, mental health and make you happier, healthier and fitter. Something that doesn’t need you to sign up to a expensive gym contract, or temporally give up the food that you love so much, or even mean you going out and buying an expensive bike, that we both know will spend most of its time collecting dust in the shed. Well there is and it’s actually gardening. Now before you stop reading, please don’t. Gardening has entered the 21st century with a bang and it’s currently on-trend.

Fresh and cool

A new generation of youngsters is getting into gardening

Gardening is suddenly becoming ‘cool’ again, with millennials discovering just how fun exciting and rewarding it really is. It’s breaking free from its shackles, losing the negative stigma it has held for so long, the stigma of being a chore. Gardening is so much more than edging the lawn or doing a spot of weeding, yes this may be an integral part of it, but it has so much more to offer. Gardening is everything from taking a seed, no bigger than your fingernail, and watching it grow into a tree. Gardening is tasting your first ever home-grown strawberry. Gardening is everything from cutting your first flower from the garden, right through to cutting herbs for the kitchen. The joy of gardening is that it truly is for everyone.

Getting started

Gardening may seem like the very last thing on your mind in the depths of winter, the weather is hardly perfect for tending to the garden. However, if you are committed to improving your garden, then now is most definitely the best time to think about doing it. You can even start from the cosy protection of your living room, with a cup of tea in hand, of course. Over the next few months, I will be taking you through the steps involved in transforming your garden from nothing, into a proud extension of your home. Whether you have a large garden, small garden, or even no garden, there is always something you can do to bring plants into your life and believe me, you wont regret it. In the meantime, below are 3 of my top plants for winter, plants that are easy to grow at home and will fill your garden with an abundance of flower and scent, and keep your green fingers content until spring.

Sarcococca confusa – The Christmas box

This evergreen shrub is arguably one of the best scented plants of the garden, the delicate white drooping flowers produce a cloud of sweet scent that really hits you as you brush past it. For this reason, it’s best placed by the front door, so you can walk past it as much as possible. Grows to just over 1 metres high in time, so isn’t going to take over the world, perfect even for the smallest of gardens and ideal for pots and containers.

Hellebrous orientalis

Nodding disks of pure joy, littering the woodland floors as we fast approach spring. A truly beautiful perennial that will keep giving year after year, comes in all colours from white through to the deepest, richest purples. It’s an ideal plant for winter containers, accompanied by some fiery stems from Cornus ‘Midwinter Fire’ and elegant snowdrops for a truly classy display.

Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’

The gorgeous Jacqueline daphne that’s impossible to walk past without stopping and giving it a good sniff, truly a plant you smell before you see; making the small, star shaped, soft pink flowers even more impressive. A mid-sized shrub, so perfect for a medium sized garden that can allow it to really show off. There are many other daphne varieties to choose from, but this has to be one of the all time greats.

Jamie Butterworth

About Jamie Butterworth

Jamie first fell in love with plants around the age of 9. Unlike most teenagers, he spent his youth growing vegetables, converting his grandparents back garden into an allotment. He studied at RHS Garden Wisley for 2 years, then went to work with wholesale plant nursery Hortus Loci. He now works at London Stone, as its horticultural consultant and is an RHS Ambassador.
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