Kate Hardy

Community gardening is good for you!

Kate Hardy

Our gardening expert Karen Murphy discusses the advantages of joining a community garden group and how it can be good for you and your community!

Gardening can sometimes be a solitary, dare I say lonely, hobby. If your passion is shared with your other half and you both see to the planting and maintenance in equal measure, you’re lucky.

Of course, one of you might build sheds and do the mowing, while the other sows and tends and plants, which is great teamwork. But have you ever thought about sharing your passion for gardening with a wider circle of friends? It might be a local orchard group, becoming part of a community campaign to green up local parks and roundabouts, for example, or simply a little group of allotment buddies to help lighten the workload.

It’s a great way to garden much better and more thriftily – think about it. You’ll be swapping so many spare plants, produce, tools, compost, tips and ideas that you can’t help but learn from those around you and save a lot of time, effort and money. 

The social and societal benefits are many, too and you’re never too old to make friends. But there’s more to it than that – different age groups and abilities meet up, bridging the divide and bringing people together. It’s a simple way of bringing back a little bit of that ‘village life’ and community spirit that can be lacking at times. 

When I had my allotment, there was nothing nicer than chatting with fellow allotment holders about their plots, and usually giving away some free pots, or grown-on plants, such as beans, courgettes and tomatoes. Plus, more often than not, they used to look after the watering on the plot while I was away. Really heartwarming! There’s also the exercise you’ll be getting and the wildlife you can be helping by creating new little community areas. A win-win for everyone, I’d say. It might be that you’ve had a terrific season in the garden, but felt it was a little tough at times – gardening should never be too much
of a chore! 

Maybe it’s time to reclaim your favourite hobby, do less at home and have a little fun in your community. 

Visit www.rhs.org.uk/communities to find out more, or contact friends and neighbours or your local council to seek out groups to join. 


3 great plants for... autumn hanging baskets

1 Dianthus


Possibly beyond even late autumn you’ll get plenty of pinks brightening up foliage.

2 Carex oshimensis

A small evergreen grass to take your basket through to winter and beyond.

3 Heucherellas

A cross between heucheras and tiarellas, these leafy mainstays provide long-term colour.


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