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This blog post is in conversation with Alexandra from the Middlesized Garden Blog. Formerly a journalist, Alexandra worked for some of the UK’s most renowned publications before moving into a property with a walled garden. This led to her becoming interested in gardening and her blog came into existence.  

We had the privilege of chatting to Alexandra and she shared with us her top tips for getting started with gardening, preparing your garden for summer and much more! 

How did you get into Gardening? 

I had always wanted a garden, so when we moved out of London, it was a requirement – we wouldn’t have moved into a house without one. But it was a shock to discover that a garden never stands still – you can decorate a house when you have the time or money and it stays the same until you do. A garden grows and changes. So, I realised I had to learn about gardening quickly before what had been a lovely garden turned into a jungle. 

For anyone interested in getting into gardening, where would you recommend starting?  

I’d recommend starting with weeding and mulching the garden. Get to know your garden by working in it before you re-design it or try to add plants. There’s lots of free information online, so have a look for blogs and YouTube channels to find some that are right for you. I would also suggest to visit gardens, especially those in your local area because you’ll see what grows well in your area. 

I’ve got a Beginner Gardening playlist on my YouTube channel, and there are lots of good beginner gardener videos. I would suggest looking at several other channels, to get an idea of who is genuinely sharing their experience and expertise and who is just doing ’27 garden hacks…’ (most of which probably won’t work). 

What do you think are the essential tools for every gardener? 

The essential tools I would advise are a hand fork and trowel, a spade and garden fork, secateurs. One or two weeding tools, such as a daisy grubber, a patio knife and/or a dandelion weeder. Add a watering can and hose, and you should be able to deal with most gardening jobs 

Going into the warmer months, is there anything we should be doing to prepare our gardens? 

As the weather gets warmer, it is time to get weeding. Hand weeding is usually best, because weeding sprays always drift onto the plants you want to keep so you get dead bits. If we get a very dry spring or early summer, then I would advise watering your pots more often, as well as watering newly planted plants and vegetables. 

What are your thoughts on adding an Outdoor Kitchen to a garden design project? 

An Outdoor Kitchen would be a fabulous addition but research it very, very carefully. It’s a very big outlay. It’s important that all wood used is tanalised so it can withstand rain or snow. And when you’re looking at surfaces, minimise joins.  

Just remember that water can get anywhere, so that’s the main thing you’re protecting your outdoor kitchen against. I’d also recommend making sure you have a nearby surface for cooking tools, plates etc. 

If you’d like to learn more about Alexandra, you can visit her blog here