All gardens are incredibly important spaces, whether they are small urban gardens or large country estates.
Gardens support wildlife, promote biodiversity, elevate our lifestyles, enhance the values of our properties and provide us with a variety of foods. They can host rare plants and endangered species while enabling us to enjoy hobbies and encouraging us to exercise.
When just a few square metres of land can do so much for both you and the planet, why not make the most of your outside space?
Here are 10 garden planting resources in Sussex that could inspire you to do just that:
1 - Enhance your community with Sussex in Bloom
There was a time when “in bloom” campaigns were focussed almost exclusively on creating colourful displays of bedding plants in the summer months.
But not anymore!
South & South East in Bloom is an exciting campaign that encompasses both horticultural achievement and environmental responsibility. Communities work together to improve planting and floral displays but also tackle litter, graffiti and anti-social behaviour.
Participation in South & South in Bloom delivers numerous benefits including greener surroundings, regeneration, greater sustainability, safer neighbourhoods and increased tourism.
From small villages to large towns and cities, communities work together to enhance the areas in which they live and to win recognition from the judging panel.
Why not whip up local support and form an ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ group? You can then register for the campaign and improve your town or village. By addressing social and environmental issues while creating beautiful gardens and landscapes, you can make all the difference.
2 - Plant for wildlife
Urbanisation and intensive agriculture have both resulted in the destruction of natural habitats and so have seriously impacted biodiversity.
Even the renovation of old barns can be detrimental to numerous species including owls and bats. Many hedgerows that support diverse species have been removed and we have lost 97% of our wildflower meadows that were homes to a wonderful array of butterflies, bees, insects and small mammals.
Happily, regardless of its size, your garden can provide an important haven for wildlife. Through judicious planting, building ponds and gardening organically, you can help to promote biodiversity. You could support a surprising number of species and provide a crucial corridor or steppingstone for native creatures that have become increasingly isolated.
Visit the Sussex Wildlife Trust website to discover everything you need to know about bringing your garden to life – literally.
3 - Take advantage of RHS gardening advice
Membership of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) gives you access to personalised advice from gardening experts.
Better still, the RHS website delivers a wealth of information for everyone from complete beginners to more experienced gardeners. Don’t miss the podcasts and videos.
For a great day out and plenty of inspiration, visit one of the society’s amazing gardens including the iconic RHS Garden Wisley near Woking. You don’t need to be a member of the RHS to visit the stunning gardens where you will discover wonderful plants, flowers, trees and shrubs. Why not explore beautiful borders and planting ideas before purchasing specimens for your own garden?
4 - Elevate your outside space with stylish garden architecture
There are many good reasons to visit the outstanding Tates of Sussex garden centres. In addition to a wonderful array of plants and flowers, the centres feature impressive displays of garden buildings including sheds, greenhouses and cabins.
If you are seeking inspiration for your garden architecture, a wander around any Tates of Sussex site should give you amazing ideas for your outside space.
You will be bursting with enthusiasm and ready to treat your garden to a stunning makeover following your visit.
5 - Visit the Sussex Country Gardener
Family-run and located in the heart of East Sussex, the Sussex Country Gardener is a special garden centre that gives you a great day out. You can explore an impressive array of trees, shrubs, perennials, roses, climbers, seasonal bedding plants and alpines.
Once you have chosen your plants, you may enjoy spending time in the gift shop or at the aquatics & pet centre. Your perfect pooch or fabulous feline will insist that you invest in a few toys and treats in addition to your plants and flowers.
Then there’s the café! Affording glorious countryside views, the impressive eatery enables you to enjoy breakfast, lunch or tea and to feast on home-made delights.
6 - Go organic
You should certainly consider gardening organically as this will enable you to play your part in promoting biodiversity. But did you know that Sussex is also home to numerous organic and sustainable food producers and retailers?
It’s great to shop locally for your food as you will be helping independent businesses to thrive while keeping those polluting food miles down.
You will find useful information about sustainable food and where to buy it locally at Local Food Britain. From organic veg to indulgent, locally produced honey, you will find incredible options that are worth exploring.
Perhaps you will also be inspired to start your own organic food business.
7 - Plant for bees or keep bees
It would be impossible to overstate the importance of bees. They are responsible for pollinating 80% of wildflowers and also pollinate crucial crops such as apples, beans, squashes and almonds. If bees were to disappear, we would struggle to produce enough food to sustain human life and there is no doubt that bees are disappearing.
You can help to reverse the fortunes of bees in the UK by planting your garden with bee-attracting flowers. You could also consider keeping bees on your land.
The Sussex Beekeepers Association promotes bee keeping and can give you all the information you need to get started.
8 - Expand your possibilities with an allotment
If you are not fortunate enough to benefit from a garden or your garden is too small for your needs, renting an allotment could be the perfect solution.
Allotments are small parcels of lane for growing plants, fruit and vegetables that can be rented from local authorities or associations. Such is their popularity that allotments can be hard to find but it is worth joining the available waiting lists including the list at the Sussex Allotment Holders Association.
If you land an allotment, you might discover green fingers that you never knew you had!
Do you own a parcel of land that you are not currently using? Why not plant a wildflower meadow or create allotments for use by local people?
9 - Allow someone else take the strain
Your outside space is a significant asset and can elevate your lifestyle while improving the value of your home. It’s certainly worth maximising the potential of any land that you own.
But not everything has the time or inclination to landscape their own garden.
If you don’t fancy taking on the project, you could engage the services of professionals who will design and create a stunning garden for you. Whether you are seeking a low maintenance space or one bursting with plants and completed by a gorgeous lawn, the best landscape gardeners such as Kennedy Landscapes can realise your aspirations for your space.
10 - Help to preserve plants
Many cultivars are at risk of extinction, but you can help to preserve them by joining or supporting Plant Heritage.
Plant Heritage is a charitable organisation that works to conserve garden plants in the UK by documenting, planting and sharing cultivars. Examples of all garden plants are held in collections or with Plant Guardians. The organisation works to improve the availability of rare plants to gardeners through its annual Plant Exchange and supports the work of conservationists.
Could you play a role in the conservation of rare plants and save them for your enjoyment and that of future generations?
Your garden in Sussex gives you endless possibilities and many that you may not have previously considered. The resources we have highlighted here should provide plenty of inspiration and enable you to find the help you need to realise the potential of any outside space.