Q&A with Charlie Dimmock
How did you develop the concept for your ‘In the Garden’ range?
My range was created to make gardening accessible to everyone and to get the nation gardening. It’s aimed at everyone who has a keen interest in gardening whether they are a beginner looking for the essentials to get them started or even if they are the most experienced and are looking for something new and exciting. There is a variety of gift-able lines available in the range too.
Where do you take your personal inspiration from?
I love being out in the garden and find it mentally very relaxing and positive. Working with Poundland and making gardening products accessible and affordable to everyone I am hoping will get a lot more people gardening.
What is your must-have item for next season?
My favourite item in the range….to choose just one is too difficult but some of my favourite include (in no particular order):
- Soft Twist Plant Ties – great as it doesn’t cut into the plant
- Propagator – ideal as it fits on the window sill and stops all the hassle of polythene bags over cuttings and seeds!
- Hand Tools – they’re strong, a good weight and the wooden handles are lovely to use.
- Tool Hooks – I’ll be replacing my 4”nails now!
- Expandable Willow Frame – attractive and has several uses
- Firefly Solar Light Bulb – fun and eye-catching
- Hanging Bird Feeder – pretty and great for attracting small birds
- All the metal buckets – I love the different colours and finishes, ideal inside and out.
Does your new range prove you don’t have to be really wealthy to be a gardener?
I know that gardening is perceived to be an expensive hobby, but like most things you can make it as expensive or inexpensive as you want. I think my range proves you don’t have to be wealthy to be a gardener. So rather than logo for larger mature plants, go for smaller plants which actually are easier to establish than going for big instant planting – there’s less work involved.
My new range has some great equipment – and if you’re on a budget the hand tools are good quality, strong and there are daily products which get used up quickly; labels, ties, the slow release fertiliser which make it accessible and affordable to everyone. Plus the ornamental bits really allow you to put your personality on your garden.
What are your top tips on gardening for beginners?
Being a beginner in the garden can be a bit daunting and intimidating but a few simple “Do’s and Don’ts” really help start you off on the right track. Yes it is worth doing some research before you start a project but don’t over research, in gardening there’s often many different ways to complete the same job and by looking at all of them can lead to confusion and getting in a muddle.
Also, if you’ve bought your gardening products at Poundland and you’ve made a mistake it’s not going to be such a major issue price wise…as everything £1.
By getting out there and actually “doing” you’ll find you’ll learn from your mistakes and more quickly work out what’s the best way for you personally to tackle a job. Don’t try to take on too much at once, as you may find the maintenance required will take up all your time and then gardening becomes a chore, not only will you stop enjoying it but you’ll get behind and the garden will suffer. If you’re designing a garden keep in mind that you want the garden to be not only pretty but practical i.e. somewhere for the dustbins and washing line and maintenance that is straight forward. This also applies to the plants you select, if you don’t have much spare time don’t go for plants that require lots of pampering.
When your new to gardening by keeping it simple you’ll succeed more readily, which will not only boost your confidence but increase your knowledge and lead to you taking on more complicated and involved gardening projects.
Are there any other tips you would offer the budding gardener?
I love lots of things about gardening, being outside and seeing the different season’s progress, the wildlife you get to see and encounter – my front garden I’ve turned into a meadow/wildlife area over the last 4-5years and last summer I was really chuffed to find I’ve got slow worms living there. Then there’s all the plants – growing things you like, colour wise, scent, shape, taste and the garden is a wonderful place to hang out and relax, whether it’s sitting in the sun with a cup of tea, playing games with the kids or my favourite “pottering” on a warm summer evening with a glass of white wine.
What are three simple things people can do to improve their garden?
- If you have a lawn keep it looking in the best of condition by mowing and edging regularly rather than leaving it a couple of weeks and then tackling it as this makes it looks tatty and week.
- Dead heading roses and bedding plants not only makes the plants look tidy and neat but it encourages more blooms. Make sure you remove the whole flower head and not just the petals.
- By feeding your plants it will boost their growth and flowering even if it’s as simple as using garden compost under shrubs or slow release fertiliser in containers.
How can I get the best from gardening if I only have a small garden or balcony?
When choosing plants for a smaller garden and yards, go for ones that fit the size of the garden and have more than one point of interest. – a nice shape, an attractive foliage as well as flowers. Or ones that may autumn fruit and spring flowers.
Keep the design simple, by having too many features, it becomes busy and overcrowded.
If you want to grow vegetables and herbs, they don’t have to be in a specific area, they can be mixed in with your ornamental plants as a lot of them are very attractive. Rosemary makes a lovely clipped wall shrub and parsley and chives look great edging a border.
For small balconies, check out the nifty hanging pots in my new collection at Poundland etc – they can be hung over the edge of a balcony (or the top of a fence). Also, look at tiered solutions to maximise pot plant space. You can grow potatoes and strawberries in pots and bags, too.
Do you have any top gardening trend predictions for 2016?
Predicting what trends are going to be is always difficult. But grow your own is still very popular and I can see that it will develop more.
– Outside spaces are definitely those areas that we want to socialise in and they can be more digitally enhanced – whether that’s with games, tvs and cinemas.
– Going in the other contrast, there seems to be a leaning to chintz.
What can we expect from ‘Charlie Dimmock’ next year – are there any particularly exciting projects?
Well work wise there’s a bit of everything really, the gardening shows like Hampton Court, a bit of TV, a gardening cruise, a few radio interviews, a bit of writing… enough to keep me busy but hopefully not so much that I get behind in the garden!
Do you have any words of wisdom that you would like to pass on?
When it comes to gardening there’s lots and lots of tips that I could give but the main thing I’d say is “get out there and have a go”, yes do some homework and research first but by actually doing it you learn from your mistakes, become more confident at tackling projects and see the results of your hard work.