We’re really focussed on sustainable gardening

We’re really focussed on sustainable gardening

At CoirProducts, we’re always talking about the benefits that gardening brings into our lives. We previously wrote a blog post about the physical and mental health benefits of it. We’ve also discussed why gardening is so important for our planet, and how it can bring people closer together.

Gardening can mean something different to each of us. Matthew from @gardening_in_the_shires tells us all about the benefits, joys, and passions he and his family have found from gardening.

“The benefits of gardening to us; as a family are immeasurable. Our garden is a playground; a fruit and veg store; a calm place; a wildlife sanctuary and most importantly, it is an extension of our home. Our garden has mostly been grown from seeds and cuttings. We give each other plants for special occasions too, so every plant has its own story and personality. We have always enjoyed gardening but over the last two years, we have really understood the mindful aspect; it is almost meditative. You don’t really think about anything other than the jobs you’re doing in the garden at that time.

We love being outside. We’re of the thinking that there’s no such thing as bad weather…. just inappropriate clothing! Gardening gives us an opportunity to ‘create’ for the future and fuels our love of learning, as there’s always a new plant to learn about. We don’t really make a big master plan. We just roll with it. If we want to make a bug hotel or a bird table one day we find a space for it, if we think an area needs a bit more colour, we make it happen, if we have so many pots that we can’t actually see our patio we have to move around. This gives our garden a natural vibe and a sense of pride.

I wouldn’t say we have a specialty plant, but I would say our passion is environmentally friendly gardening with a low carbon footprint, that supports the local wildlife and also looks pretty! We have, however, become a little bit obsessed with hydrangeas this summer. We have one that has been with us for about 4 years now and it made such an impact in the garden this year, that when it came into flower we decided to get some more. Somehow, we managed to leave the garden centre with 7 different varieties of hydrangea!”

Speaking of being environmentally friendly, Matthew tells us that they are a fan of coir and being sustainable in their gardening over at gardening_in_the_shires.

“We’ve used coir in some house plant soils mixes. The process of hydrating it is really fun and we appreciate that it is sustainable. We’ve also bought the odd plant which has come in a coir pot. This comes with the double benefit of being sustainable and also being able to plant straight into the ground (pot and all).

We’re really focussed on sustainable gardening and over the years we’ve improved on becoming more self-sufficient. We love composting, collecting our own seeds, collecting rainwater, and recycling old bits of wood to benefit the garden and our growing conditions. It’s certainly very satisfying using homemade compost to improve the health of our garden and it’s great watching the worms do their thing!

We also have a deeper understanding of the preparation required to have colour and interest in the gardens all year round. We focus on perennials complementing the structure of the garden, and feel we have the time and the knowledge to fill the gaps with annuals for a continuous flow of colour through the year.”

Taking it back in time, Matthew tells us when gardening became a part of his family’s lifestyle.

“Our gardening journey started in 2011. We were stationed in Germany at the time as part of the British Army and lived in a flat. Fortunately, we had a nice sized balcony, so we decided to see what we could grow in containers. We started off by filling up old ‘bags for life’ and beer crates with soil to grow potatoes and courgettes…. And we never looked back.

Gardeners World was a huge source of inspiration for us, not only was it great to slowly learn more about gardening, whilst being based abroad, it was nice to feel a connection with the UK.

In our first garden, we started growing fruit and herbs. Easy, happy plants like apples, pears, rosemary and bay. Our first real struggle was growing any other vegetables other than courgette and potatoes! We didn’t have a greenhouse or a cold frame and didn’t realise the benefits of starting certain seeds off inside, then hardening them off before they went in the raised beds. Still to this day, we prefer plants to be on the more hardy side, but we definitely utilise our cold frame now! We spent a lot of time researching the plants and vegetables we were growing, so soon became aware of how and where best to care for them. Our first, non veg related, gardening success that made us feel like “real” gardeners was when we successfully propagated our own lavender bushes. It is so easy, and we still do it every year.”

Hearing another gardener’s story just goes to show how diverse and extensive the world of gardening can be. And as with every established gardener, Matthew has his own tips to give from what he has learnt:

1. “Gardening doesn’t have to be an expensive sport. Through recycling and reusing, you can quickly and sustainably start growing, by using items that might ordinarily get thrown out.
2. Check every bag of compost you buy to make sure it is peat free.
3. Cuttings are a great way to get started, especially succulents.
4. Grow what is right for your conditions.
5. Tap into the gardening community, both physically and virtually. We love having chats with fellow gardeners as they walk past our front garden, and also love receiving tips from the gardening community on Instagram. Tips and tricks are a really valuable source of information”.

Thank you to Matthew and his family for taking part, you can continue to follow their gardening journey through their Instagram @gardening_in_the_shires.

If you have a story you’d like to share, send us a DM on Instagram @coirproductscouk or email us hello@coirproductsco.uk.

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