2. Gardening for Beginners – Blog Two

Now armed with your secateurs it's time to find something to plant.

You will now need to know where to buy plants. Basically there are three options, B&Q/Homebase etc for beginner gardeners, a local nursery for the more experienced gardener and if you are feeling indulgent head to a top range nursery such as Petersham Nurseries, where you can also get fabulous tea and cake!

All these shops vary widely in how they are laid out and can be very confusing and overwhelming for newbies. I suggest for your first plant you buy a shrub - they basically come in two forms: evergreen (ie the leaves never fall off) and deciduous (where they do).


For your first plant I suggest an evergreen shrub as they are much easier to care for. There are different plants for gardens with different aspects (ie levels of sun).

It's important to find out what aspect your garden has. A great way to do this is to use your phone's compass to find out.

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Anything south-facing means you get full sun so you can plant a much larger number of plants with success. So head to the Shrubs aisle and buy one of the old stalwarts such as a bay, lavender or yew. Make sure you check the label for how much the plant needs. If you have a north and east facing garden you would need to buy plants that need part-shade or full shade.

All plants have official Latin names and it can be confusing to know those names when you are starting out. However, most shops will also have the common name together with the Latin name on the plant tag.

Plants are also available in many different pot sizes so it's much easier to head there and see what it looks like and whether it will fit in your garden. Once you become more experienced you will know the pot sizes without needing to see it.

Next time: What size plant do I need?

If you have any gardening questions, please do get in touch on email and I'll publish the best questions and answers on a future blog.

Have a look at my product recommendations for beginner gardeners inspired by Chelsea Flower Show 2023.