A survey to over 1,500 respondents commissioned by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS)* has found that 80% of the UK is getting outside gardening over the 2014 National Gardening Week, 14th to 20th April, and Easter Weekend.
The top three gardening activities of the moment are weeding, mowing and cutting back last year’s foliage on herbaceous perennials and grasses.
The survey suggests more male members of the household will be cutting the grass with nearly 70% of them saying they’ll be mowing their lawns compared to 57% of females. Generally men appear to care more about their turf, with over half of the men questioned saying they’ll also be tending their lawn this week to help it recover from the winter and get in shape for spring, compared to almost 35% of women.
Slightly more women than men said they would be cutting back foliage on herbaceous perennials and grasses, 45% compared to 42%, pruning shrubs after flowering, 42% compared to 40% and sowing seeds in-doors, 39% compared to 31%.
RHS Head of Advisory, Guy Barter, says: “After the challenging cold weather last spring, gardeners are enjoying a great start to the season this year and making the most of the sunshine. In March at the RHS we had record calls to our advisory team and answered over 6,000 gardening questions. Most of the questions have been about pruning trees and shrubs, particularly those damaged by winter gales, and dealing with lawns rich in moss and with sparse grass, in this case a consequence of prolonged wet weather.
“We also enjoyed the highest number of visitors to our four RHS gardens in March, with almost 172,500 in total, and are expecting thousands to join us over the Easter break too.
“I’m not surprised that one of the top gardening jobs is looking after the lawn, as a nation we’re passionate about our turf and the survey found that only 14% of us think our lawn is perfect. The main complaint people had with their lawn was moss, with nearly a quarter saying their lawn has quite a lot of moss and 7% saying it’s nearly completely moss.
“Moss can be a temporary problem following drought or waterlogging, or more persistent, suggesting a problem with underlying conditions. Killing and removing the moss is just the start. To remain moss-free, the vigour of the grass must be improved and any other contributory factors addressed.
“It’s great the survey suggests that gardeners tend to get along with their neighbours, with only 3% saying that one of the reasons they garden and grow plants is to block out the neighbour’s garden.”
Almost 80% of respondents said they’d never thrown a slug or snail into their neighbour’s garden. The survey found Londoners were most likely to throw a slug into their neighbour’s garden, with over 30% admitting that they had and people in Scotland least likely to, with just 14% saying they’d never got rid of the garden pests that way.
Over 60% of people said that the main reason they garden and grow plants is to create a beautiful space to relax and enjoy and over 40% will mainly use their garden for family gatherings and barbeques this spring.
Guy adds: “People wanting to use their gardens as an extension of the home is a trend we’ve seen growing at RHS Chelsea over the last decade and there’s no doubt there’s an appetite to create beautiful social spaces to enjoy with our family and friends outside in our gardens. This is reflected in the many gardeners intending to have more pots (25%) and more flowers (22%) to decorate their gardens this year – garden centre tills will be ringing this holiday.”