Get Ready for Spring at the Festival of Gardening

Two weekends to enthuse the avid or amateur gardener


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London Wetland Centre

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Whether you are an avid gardener or an amateur planning to plant your first window box, get ready for spring with a series of talks, walks and demonstrations at WWT London Wetland Centre. 26th - 27 March, and 2nd - 3rd April 2011

A talk by Gay Search, an ‘Ask the gardeners’ celebrity panel, willow weaving demonstrations, guerilla gardening and tree ID walks are just some of the events that make up an exciting programme of activities to help your garden bloom this year.  Most of the activities are free with paid Admission to the Centre and full details can be found at

Gay Search:  The Healing Garden, Sunday, 3 April
Join TV presenter, author and garden expert Gay Search (pictured below) for an illustrated talk about the different ways in which plants, gardens and gardening are good for us in mind, body and spirit.  Bookable in advance.  £6.00 pp (proceeds help WWT’s conservation work).

TV presenter, author and garden expert Gay SearchAsk the gardeners: Sunday 27 March
Put your green gardening questions to a panel of experts comprising Dr Nigel Dunnett, of the landscape architecture school of the University of Sheffield and creator of the RBC Rain Garden at London Wetland Centre; Channel 4's The Landscape Man, Matthew Wilson, and the Centre’s Kew-trained gardening expert Alwyn Craven.  Lesley Mair from Barn Elms Allotments Society (BEAS) and Annie Gatti, columnist for The English Garden magazine, complete the panel of gardening gurus.  Bookable in advance.  £6.00 pp (proceeds help WWT’s conservation work).

Pond planting:  
Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 March
This demonstration shows you all you need to know about constructing a pond – even if it’s only in a buried dustbin lid! -  and growing native plants to help wildlife, provide homes for insects, nurseries for amphibians and drinking water for birds.  And, in the process, creating an attractive feature for your garden.

Gardening walk with a warden:  Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 March
This gardener's tour of London Wetland Centre begins in the beautiful RBC Rain Garden.  The tour will take in the highlights of the garden before moving on to other gardens such as the nectar-rich garden for bees.

Gardening for wildlife: Saturday 26 March
“A garden without wildlife” says Alan Titchmarsh, “is like a kiss without a squeeze.” Bringing wildlife into a garden benefits both the gardener and the creatures visiting it.  Gardening expert Alwyn Craven will show you how you can easily provide homes and food for wildlife while still enjoying a beautiful garden.

RBC Rain Garden at WWT London Wetland Centre - image by Catherine StarlingClever composting:  Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 March
Don't waste a single potato peeling! Nearly all of the waste produced at London Wetland Centre is recycled and this demonstration will show you why composting is great because it provides fantastically fertile soil in which to grow plants and vegetables.  

Living willow weaving:  Saturday 2 April
The flexibility of willow twigs has, for many centuries, led to their being used for making all manner of useful objects.  This demonstration shows how willow can be a fantastic material to work with while it is still alive and rooted in the ground.   RBC Rain Garden -Catherine Starling.

Guerilla gardening and green roofs
:  Saturday 2 April
Gardening with a difference!  A talk by "Guerilla gardener" Richard Reynolds looks at the guerilla gardening movement which uses planting to reclaim neglected public spaces for the benefit of all urban wildlife, whether it's human or beastly.  Then join green roof specialist, naturalist and campaigner Dusty Gedge who will explain how green roofs work and suggest how you can plant green roofs of your own or encoure organisations to make the most of their roofs.

Support your vegetables
:  Sunday 3 April
Tall or climbing garden flowers and vegetables often need shelter or support.  Learn how to get creative in your garden by harnessing natural materials such as willow to make beautiful and practical structures to give your peas, beans and flowers something to cling to.

Tree walk: Sunday 3 April
Although many small plants are only just beginning to appear, there is one reliable group of large plants to be spotted at London Wetland Centre at this time of year – trees. Learn how to identify common species by their shape, structure and bark.


London Wetland Centre’s Festival of Gardening draws on the Centre’s experience in creating successful gardens and wildlife habitats and also landscaping, planting and maintaining them in an environmentally-friendly manner.  In the creation of London Wetland Centre over 300,000 water plants and 27,000 trees were planted. Much of the planting is designed to attract insects which in turn feed birds, amphibians, reptiles and the significant number of bats which hunt over the reserve on summer evenings.

February 15, 2011