Little Urban Gardening For Little London Spaces

Grace and Thorn

Image: Grace & Thorn via RHS

When I first moved to London, it was to a teeny studio flat in an old mansion block in Earls Court. It was January 2002 and just before my 22nd birthday. It was freedom, liberation, joy. Although I never went back home after leaving for University effectively leaving home at 18, moving to London was a huge adventure. The flat was horrible. It had no oven, two hob rings, water that you couldn’t even filter never mind drink. But ask any of my friends and they ALL have the fondest memories of that horrible squat because we had so much fun there. It was mine (albeit rented). And it had a balcony.

My next flat had no outdoor space but lovely wide windowsills for boxes and the flat after that had the teeniest courtyard garden. I sometimes wonder if my limited green-fingered ability has been a result of limited London space, but either way London is a much ‘greener’ space than it was 15 years ago. From herbs to succulents, keeping something indoors, on a windowsill or a doorstep is very much on trend at the moment, squishing life into the smallest square footage.

To celebrate all things urban gardener, the Royal Horticultural Society are launching their first ever London Urban Garden Show co-curated with Cityscapes which takes place this weekend (November 12th and 13th) at RHS Lindley Hall. This is the show to inspire you to grow even if you have only space for one houseplant. The real irony is that after years of studio flat renting, the home we bought here in south London now has a 100 ft garden and I can honestly say that our patio area alone is bigger than my first Earls Court abode. Yet still I’m clueless when it comes to nurturing plant life.

London Terrariums

Image: London Terrariums

Thankfully help is on hand from the RHS who have invited me along to their preview evening on Friday and I’m looking forward to being immersed in all things botanical and hopefully take away some handy hints and tips to nurture my existing little plant squad. Here’s what RHS London have to say about the event:

On entering the show visitors will be immersed in a tropical paradise with an array of species suitable for indoor use such as ivies, palms and ferns. A second inspirational installation will feature popular dry plants such as cacti and succulents, which are easy to keep and need little maintenance.

You will get the chance to ask the experts about caring for your plants whatever your level of knowledge, and get cultivation tips on keeping them healthy all year round. In addition, you’ll be able to check out plant accessories to create an impressive display from some of London’s hottest new horticultural brands.

The Show will feature seminars on topics ranging from social media for gardeners to growing various kinds of houseplants and how plants can be used in the urban settings, along with curated tours of our Lindley Library exhibit on the City Gardener, which covers the delights and challenges of urban gardening through the ages.

There will also be a tempting range of food on offer if you feel the need for something tasty – SpiceBox, Seedlip, Rupert’s Street, The Inkspot Brewery, Vegan Sweet Tooth, The Gin Garden, and Young Vegans will all be on hand with thier range of fabulous fare.

I can’t wait to pop along and be inspired, I keep trying to convince myself that it’s never too late to learn some new skills but I definitely seem to be better at raising animals than I am at raising plants…watch this space.

If you would like to attend the RHS London Urban Garden Show, I have two complimentary tickets for Sunday 13th November. Just get in touch with me if you’re interested. This is a collaborative post, but all words and opinions are my own unless otherwise stated. Images credited.

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