National Gardening Week has become such a a national institution, attracting ordinary citizens and large corporations equally, that it’s hard to remember this is a relatively new event.
It was just four years ago in 2012 that the first National Gardening Week took place, coinciding with Britain in Bloom and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Since then it has played an important role in every gardener’s calendar during April.
National Gardening Week started with various aims and objectives, one of which was drawing together a diverse list of gardening and horticulture societies and clubs around the country and providing a meeting point – a series of events through which they could come together and help each other. The event promotes wildlife gardening, teaches recycling through composting and holds Q&A events so ordinary gardeners can ask and get help from normally inaccessible experts. All the RHS gardens are involved with events, activities and open days, as well as other gardens offering free entry and hosting events.
Careers and Training
Alan Titchmarsh, as popular then as he is now, headed the ‘A Career to be Proud Of’ day. Always keen to promote and foster an interest in young people who may go on to build a career in horticulture, National Garden Week has built a solid reputation for helping schools, gardening clubs and colleges to show the value of making gardening part of a career choice. Previous events have seen all kinds of specialists, from scientists to TV presenters, taking part in this important outreach to a younger generation of gardeners, giving them the opportunity to ask questions and speak to experts from the horticultural world. Raising the image of gardening in this way helps students recognise the vital role it plays in society, lifting it above the mud and wellies impression they might otherwise have of it.
We often complain that communities are not what they used to be. National Gardening Week sets great store in bringing communities together through local events, competitions and clubs, with the intention of broadening knowledge and showing the fun side of a glorious garden. National Open Gardens Day invites everyone to enjoy gardens, but through the involvement of charities, heritage organisations, retailers and the RHS itself, activities such as guided walks, beginners' workshops, garden parties and face painting, a true gardening celebration is created with something to entertain and inform everyone, from the youngest to the oldest.
Big Names and Grand Ambitions
In the last few years, the national event has grown in popularity and fame. Last year, there were over 200 different gardening events up and down the country, with famous and respected organisations such as the V&A, Dorling Kindersley, the National Trust and Amazon getting involved to help promote gardening throughout the week-long celebration. One of the biggest events of the year was the planting of half a million sunflower seeds to celebrate the golden anniversary of Britain in Bloom.
It’s events such as these that capture the imagination and spark an interest in gardening which, with the help of RHS and National Gardening week, can last a lifetime.