National Gardening Week takes place from Monday 2 May to Sunday 8 May, 2022.
This year, the theme is the "the joy of gardening". I'm about to head out and do some weeding and digging, with a hot cup of coffee by my side, and there's nothing like doing some gardening to have a feel good factor.
I remember the last time I saw my auntie Joan before she passed away. She absolutely adored her garden, and really missed it when she had to move into a care home but she had a couple of plants in her room. The last time I saw her we did some "indoor gardening", weeding the plants slowly as we talked, and it was wonderful - a memory I'll always treasure as we put the world to rights over a coffee and weeding.
National Gardening Week aims to celebrate gardening and raises awareness of the difference that gardens and gardening can make to the lives of everyone in the UK. It inspires more people, particularly the next generation of gardeners, to experience the joy of growing and creating beautiful green spaces.
Gardening gives you space to think, to be...
Gardening is a great way to boost the mood and there’s nothing like feeling the earth between your fingers to connect with the world. Plants, flowers, bushes and trees all make for great company; they give you space to think about things, and life, and drift in your thoughts; they give your mind a chance to rest and relax and immerse yourself in the moment and forget what’s going on in the world. They don’t interrupt your train of thought. They just let you be….
So what's happening during National Gardening Week?
Get out into your garden or visit a garden or local park and just enjoy gardens! Why not share your photos on social media with the hashtag #nationalgardeningweek
Activities will be taking place at the five RHS Gardens. Visit RHS Gardens Wisley in Surrey, Bridgewater in Salford, Harlow Carr in Yorkshire, Hyde Hall in Essex and Rosemoor in Devon
Bring gardening into your home
You don’t need a garden, either – you could bring nature into your home with a houseplant, herbs on a window sill, perhaps in the kitchen, watching gardening videos, and “visiting” many famous gardens online!
Go potty in the garden!
I LOVE pots! I’ve put a couple of strawberry plants into small pots and so far I’ve counted 5 strawberries coming on one, and 2 on another. I keep going out into the garden and talking to them to encourage them. My husband thinks I’ve gone mad, but I love it.
We’ve also got a dwarf blueberry bush in a pot on the patio, a dwarf raspberry bush, also in a pot, and a peach tree.
Grow your own fruit, or give a fruit tree or bush to a loved one as a gift!
Fill your garden with colour
And don’t forget flowers – they are lovely for making you feel brighter. Last year, I sowed some freesias in several little pots and this year, much to my surprise, they have all come up into beautiful flowers and I’ve got a gorgeous scent coming from them. Red, yellow and dark pink freesias are really giving me something to smile about.
Feel a sense of achievement
Gardening gives you the chance to create and enjoy your own beautiful green space, whether in the house or in the garden, or both! There’s nothing like the feeling of achievement it gives you, and the joy you have looking at the fruits of your labours!
Visit the RHS and check out their advice section – you’ll find so much information to help you! It’s not all reading, either – they have videos you can watch as well J
Share your garden
Wildlife need our gardens, especially as we are taking so much of their homes off them. They need hedgerows, trees and bushes to nest in, to rest in, to shelter in from the wind, rain and sun. Provide them with access to water in a pond or a bird bath (those can be small as well), put up bird feeders, stick a pile of logs in a corner and leave it all a bit messy there, and you will have your own nature show to enjoy, full of beautiful sounds.
Hands can easily be cleaned – get the kids out into the garden and give them the chance to discover all about the outside world by getting their hands dirty, their t-shirts all covered in muddy earth, their feet wet… there’s nothing like it. All that fresh air and activity will hopefully wear them out!
Immerse yourself in gardens when you sit down.
There are lots of gardening programmes - watch Monty Don on iplayer, you could also subscribe to a gardening magazine for a few months or more, read gardening books, watch gardening videos (RHS on You Tube for instance), treat yourself to a garden experience, take a gardening course (you can get online ones from Red Letter Days now).
So there’s plenty to do to bring gardening into your life.
Happy National Gardening Week!
Actions for Animals
Peter Fearnhead, CEO, African Parks Network, South Africa
Get involved in the Great British Spring Clean 2022!
The Great British Spring Clean is in its 7th year in 2022 and this year, you can join in the #BigBagChallenge and pledge to pick up as much litter as you can during the campaign.
This is something you could do as an individual, as a couple of people, as a family, a group of friends, a club - whatever you want. Why not do it at work, and make it a team group activity?
There's lots of advice and tips on the website to help you including covering aspects of health and safety, insurance and disposing of your litter and recycling.
You can pick up litter when you're walking your dog, walking to work or school, even jogging.
And the great thing about litter picking is that you know you are making a difference. New research from YouGov in conjunction with Keep Britain Tidy, 60% of children aged 6 to 17 feel happier when taking eco-action outside, such as picking up litter. You can pledge as a school, to get involved.
And it can give you a feeling of taking control and doing something positive for our environment. Cut litter, end waste and help protect wildlife - far too many get injured or killed because of our litter, so you will be protecting them at the same time!
Earth Hour is back, and this time it is on Saturday 26 March 2022 at 8:30pm local time to you!
This is a great chance to switch everything off.
Earth Hour started back in 2007 by WWF and partners in Sydney to raise awareness of climate change and it's a huge grassroots movement for the enviornment. Every year people in over 190 countries and territories take part and take action.
You can simply switch off your lights - why not enjoy the night sky for an hour? Or take part in an event, or hold your own event and find out more about climate change and habitat loss.
You could share your stories online of what you personally are doing to take action and join groups who are making a difference.
Above all, you can go beyond the hour - and see what you can do to change your lifestyle to reduce your impact on climate change, and to put pressure on goverments and companies to make the right decisions, for people, for the planet and of course for wildlife.
Back in 2012, the UN General Assembly proclaimed the 21 March to be International Day of Forests.
The idea behind the day is "to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests." The UN wants countries to undertake efforts at a local, national and international level to organise activities which include forests and trees - tree planting campaigns is just one example.
However, I thought this year I would raise awareness of five appeals for forests or ways to help which you could share and/or donate to and/or find out more about.
1. The Woodland Trust
The UK's Woodland Trust has 3 appeals at the time of writing, one in Norfolk and two in Scotland in the West Highlands (the Couldoran appeal, next to Ben Shildaig) and the Loch Arkaig Pine Forest appeal in the Scottish Highlands.
2. Trees for Life
Trees for Life is turning bleak landscapes of grass which has been overgrazed back to forest that's bursting with wildlife. You can donate, plant a tree, volunteer, or shop with them and businesses can get involved as well. You can also plant a grove of trees, (which might be a great thing to do for a big birthday so that you can ask friends and family to plant a tree for you.)
Rainforest Trust has a mission - it "saves endangered wildlife and protects our planet by creating rainforest reserves through partnerships, community engagement and donor support." Find out the ways you can support them - why not take their Hug 100 Trees challenge? Many of their urgent requests for help carry 3x or 2x matches (e.g. if it's a 2x match, if you donate £10 it becomes £20 without any cost to you, thanks to someone who is matching your donation). Amongst their urgent projects are ones working to create wildlife corridors for tigers in Thailand, to save a bird island sanctuary in Indonesia, to save a Mozambique butterfly forest, and two appeals in the Democratic Republic for the Congo, one to save bonobos carbon-rich swamp forest and the other to save the Grauers gorilla.
4. The World Land Trust
WLT has a mission (or challenge) for young people at school: to measure your school playground or school or a space of some sort there and raise funds to save the same size area in Brazil! You can help save some of the last of Brazil's Atlantic Forest and preserve carbon-munching rainforest at the same time. Hundreds of species of animals are relying on you and your school to get involved in Operation Ocelot - find out more here
5. Rainforest Rescue
Rainforest Rescue is "actively committed to preserving rainforests, protecting their inhabitants, and furthering social reforms." It is active in many countries around the world and it supports its partners on the ground in tropical countries. I've signed many of their petitions myself putting pressure on companies and governments and they have plenty of news and updates
International Day of Forests website - this is the UN offical website for the day
Coalition for Rainforest Nations has a mission "to help tropical govenrments, communities and peoples responsibility manage their rainforests.
Global Forest Watch has the latest data and technology and tools that empower people to take action. Take a look at their Topics section - it has information on fires and water which personally I found really hit home.
Queen's Commonwealth Canopy - this has been set up to create a pan-Commonwealth network of forest conservation projects, to enable forests to thrive and conserve indigenous forests for future generations. See the projects here
The 19th March is Digital Cleanup Day!
There is an enormous amount of trash in the digital world, with unnecessary apps, files, videos, photo duplicates – and that all creates digital pollution. It consumes energy, sitting in the backups on servers which provide us with cloud service and consume electricity.
Enter Digital Cleanup Day on 19 March 2022, giving us all the chance to take a look at our IT systems – all of them – and see what we can do to press the delete button and detox them.
Clicking, scrolling, streaming, watching, listening, viewing, storing, organising…it all adds up.
Each year the internet and its supporting systems produce 900 million tons of CO2
There are lots of advantages to doing a digital detox…
- It extends the life of your gadgets
- You have more control as you put new digital habits into place
- You can cut back and save on CO2
- You’re firmly in control – things will be easier to find on your system, for a start as there’s less to look through
Digital Cleanup Day is asking us all to cut down our CO2 share – all we need to do is to register and do a digital detox!
The website has lots of ways to help and reasons to do a digital detox. And there’s information to help you know on how much you have deleted.
As an individual, you can:
- Clean up your smart phone – we all have applications we haven’t used for a while. I started to go through my computer and smart phone today and was stunned to see how much is actually on it that I don’t use and even more stunned to see how much was there that I didn’t even know about and had no future need for.
- Get rid of duplicate photos – it’s amazing how they gather
- Do the same for your computer, laptop, ipad or tablet
- Detox your emails – it is amazing how they build up. Do you really need to subscribe to the emails you get? Do you really need to keep all that you do?
- Reduce the amount of time you spend on social media and on your various IT systems – find new hobbies!
You could also detox the presence of IT systems in your life.
This could also be a great chance to take a look at how much you use IT in your life and to consider whether it is taking over your life or whether you have full control of the way you use it. Do you grab your phone first thing in the morning to check it for messages? Do you wake in the night to see if you’ve missed anything? Take control of your phone.
Cut down your CO2 share, join the Digital Cleanup Day in
19th March 2022!
Image © Digital Cleanup Day