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Gardening for wellbeing with Petals Wild Flower Stall.

When we design interiors, one of the first things we consider is the orientation of the space, when does it get natural daylight and how can we maximise that light, what are the views we want to frame, and how can we introduce a compelling natural element.

Having a strong connection to the outdoors has many benefits, for our wellbeing, the environment, and our sense of space within our homes. Maximising natural surroundings is something we are passionate about at Studio Jute, when we feel a connection and responsibility to our outside spaces, we are more aware of the environmental changes around us, and in turn will make better environmental choices.

Whether your outside space is a private garden, a communal courtyard, or a borrowed view of a nearby landscape having, a connection to the external is so important to feeling contented with the internal.

We spoke to Jen, the owner of Petals Wild Flower Stall, on how to create an outside space that positively impacts our wellbeing and the world around us.

One of the first questions many people will have is where to begin, can you tell us how you came to gardening and what benefits it’s had on your wellbeing?

In our last home we inherited a lovely old rambling garden, the house was modest in size and with two children I was keen to create a family friendly outdoor space to become an extension of our home.

I wasn’t very successful with the planting in the beginning, there were lots of failed attempts! But I persevered as I just loved being outside, and through trial and error found plants that worked in that garden. Each year it evolved, and I would enjoy the challenge of building on the success of the previous year.

If you are just starting out, I would suggest zoning your garden before committing to plants. Notice where the sun rises and sets and create areas for how you’d like to use the space, for example, a kid’s area, a quite shaded area, and a place to enjoy your morning coffee. Once you have the hard landscaping in place, start small with a few plants and seeds and build from there.

For me, wherever I have lived with my family the garden has always been a priority, a place where I can take time out, and when the children were younger get them involved with growing.

For those with limited outside space are there any tips on small scale gardening and container growing?

You can achieve so much with a smaller space, I would suggest thinking vertically, raised beds are great as you can separate the space, adding height and screening, to create hidden areas and make the garden feel larger.

Planting in pots is a simple way to maximise your display as you can change them according to what’s in flower. For a productive garden why not try a mini pot allotment, with beans and tomatoes, which are easy to grow and get nice and tall giving some structural interest.

You’re known for your beautiful cut flowers, of which you donate a percentage of the profits to charity, can you tell us more about this and how it began?

I was watching Chelsea Flower Show and heard about all the air miles involved in cut flowers which are readily available in supermarkets, hearing how they are cut, chilled, flown around the world and then sold cheaply in plastic felt like the complete opposite to the natural environment, and the way in which many of us enjoy our gardens.

It stemmed from there, I was already growing lots and wanted to share a little bit of that joy by offering freshly cut locally grown flowers.

I want the flowers to do good, I want other people to enjoy them and the ethos of the stall is centred around joy, sustainability and taking care of others. There is a friendly community of growers across the Island and by working together we can supply locally grown flowers for events and hospitality, reducing the need for companies to buy imported blooms.

The first charity we supported was the Red Cross, who were raising funds to support those affected by the war in Ukraine, which happened just as I started the flower stall, and I wanted to support in my own small way. Since then we have donated to other local charities and most recently Mountbatten Hospice.

How can we ensure our gardens have a positive impact on the environment around us, whilst still being productive and pretty?

My style of gardening is loose and wild, which sits comfortably in the landscape, there are no immaculate lawns here! My tops tips would be:

· Harvest your own seeds, its so easy to do and great for swapping.

· Providing habitats for wildlife makes a nicer environment for all, some water, leaf cover and long grass are all simple ways to do this.

· Make your own compost, this reduces waste and is free.

· Grow your own veg to avoid buying plastic wrapped supermarket, courgettes and

tomatoes are a good place to start.

· Add gravel to the tops of pots to retain moisture, meaning less watering.

· Harvest rainwater, catch as much as you can for the dry months.

· Use local community websites for tools and things you need, always check if you can get second hand before buying new.

· Have fun with planters, my son gives me his worn-out work boots, which are great as planters and stops them going to land fill.

· Plant less annuals and more shrubs and perennials which need less watering and come back each year.

What are your recommendations for low maintenance, but high performing plants, shrubs or trees?

My favourite flowers are cosmos, I love their height and frilly greenery, but mostly their long flowering time of June to October. Dahlias are showstoppers for late summer and are easy to care for, the tubers can be dug up after flowering and replanted next year.

My favourite fuss free, but impactful planting is a wild flower meadow, which is excellent for wildlife and is interesting right through from April to the end of the season, when you simply cut once, and it comes back bigger and better next year.

I also love bulbs, especially spring ones, it's such a joy to see the first shoots after a long winter and they’re so low maintenance, put them in the ground and forget about them. Fruit trees are beautiful, plumbs are good for smaller gardens with blossom and fruit, and Acers are great for pots as a small pretty tree.

What should we plant close to the house for maximum interest and impact.

For areas you’ll be sitting in it nice to engage the senses, scented plants, tactile plants and encourage wildlife with pollinator friendly plants. I love buddleia, its long purple blooms really attract the wildlife so you can watch the bees and butterflies as you relax. Also, a pot of herbs is practical and pretty and low maintenance.

A lot of our interior inspiration comes from natures paint box, calming greens and creative blues, do you have a favourite colour combination found in nature and does this influence the way you create arrangements?

I love yellow and blues in spring, a faded colour palette of soft vintage pinks in the summer. But. equally I like the bright pinks, reds and oranges and all the zingy colours together. I’d say play around and be creative with your arrangements, go with what you love.

I like to use what’s in season and add plenty of foliage, anybody who has a garden can create a display using branches, pretty foliage, and grasses, think outside of the box.

What is the best piece of gardening advice you’ve been given that you could pass on?

Don’t be afraid to give it a try. Always plant in 3’s or 5’s for a nice display, and when you’re starting take lots of photos, to easily look back and see what worked well and build from there.

Take your time, you don’t want it to become a task- you want to still enjoy it!

For regular updates follow Petals Wild Flower Stall on Instagram @petals_wild_flower_stall

If you'd like some advice on maximising a connection to your outside space through your interior design, do get in touch to arrange a free informal chat.


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