If you are just beginning your adventures in gardening, as many people have during lockdown - apparently, it’s the second most popular past time after Netflix - I would always suggest you start with a plant or group of plants that you really LOVE. Start with a selection of your favourites like maybe herbs, vegetables or cut flowers. I enjoy planting a clove of garlic with children and watching that grow, it’s amazing how quickly you get results in a pot on the windowsill. These days all the information you need to get started is available with the flick of a mouse - Google is the most powerful tool in gardening.
A packet of seeds costs around £3 so you don’t have to spend a fortune to get going, if like me, you have to have all the flowers…. then of course you will need the funds to feed your habit. But honestly start small otherwise there is the danger that you will end up with plants coming out of every corner and like the sorcerer’s apprentice it will be impossible to stop them.
Houseplants are a great gateway into gardening. My house plant of choice is Pilea peperonioides or Chinese Money plant. I love the way it looks and it’s super low maintenance. The only thing it doesn’t like is direct sun. I rotate the pot each week so that the plant doesn’t grow towards the light and get lopsided, but sometimes that might be the look you are after. Pilea is considered to have good Feng shui. Called the money plant probably because its lovely round leaves look like green coins, it’s believed to bring luck and prosperity to the house in which it thrives. I happily tend to my little plants in the belief that they will bring me happiness and joy. Pilea obligingly have many babies or “offsets” which can easily be cut away from the mother plant and potted up into smaller containers. You can in effect keep spreading the love and maybe even the wealth by gifting these lovely little plants.
We are organic flower farmers so of course I would encourage you all to consider the environment when you grow things. Look for organic seed, use peat free compost and try and reuse or recycle plastic pots. We have had bespoke terracotta pots made for us by our friend Matt at Willow pottery. These are perfect for growing house plants in and we love them because they are sustainable and eco-friendly. We try and avoid plastic wherever possible. We have also started using biodegradable coir pots which can be used to grow seedlings in but also look great for house plants.
If you are caring for anything growing, you need to water carefully. Most plants prefer not to be sitting in pools of water, after all who likes a soggy bottom. But equally few plants like drying out completely. A once-a-week schedule for house plants suits most people but there are always exceptions. We also recommend feeding house plants once a month. We brew a comfrey tea on the farm because we do everything organically. We are looking into ways of making enough of our feed to be able to offer it as a product to our customers.