Poundland has teamed up with Charlie Dimmock to launch the new garden range at their affordable price point of just £1 each. We caught up with her to talk about the new products and her top tips for those who are just starting out.
How did your partnership with Poundland come about?
I was approached by Poundland to be involved with their gardening range last year and with Tommy Walsh fronting Poundlands DIY products it makes a good team.
Why do you feel it's important to make gardening equipment accessible for all budgets?
As far as I'm concerned the more people who garden the better, not only is it a great past time and helps people physically and mentally but it's good for our wildlife as well (that these days is under a great deal of pressure) providing food and shelter.
Do you have a particular favourite item from the collection?
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.
To name a few!
What are your top tips for beginners?
Being a beginner in the garden can be a bit daunting and intimidating but a few simple "Does 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. 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.
Why should everyone try gardening at least once in their life?
As I've already mentioned it's a wonderful past time, it not only helps keep people active but lots of research shows that it has a very positive influence on a person's mental state. Also an attractive well maintained garden not only looks great and welcoming but can increase the value of a home.
When did your passion for gardening begin?
When I was a child I used to love being outside in the garden, I'd either gravitate to the pond (there's always so much going on in a pond) or down to where my grandad was gardening - mainly in the vege patch and I'd end up "helping"! And at junior school we used to have gardening lessons through the spring and summer terms which involved us growing plants in the classroom and in pairs we had a small garden plot that the plants we propagated went into. Also as a teenager my weekend and holiday job was at a garden centre which just kept my interest going.
Why do you think gardening is viewed as something that's difficult and expensive?
I think gardening is sometimes viewed as difficult because people often get overwhelmed and don't know where to start so end up put things off which means more has to be done to get everything back in check - it's a vicious circle. As for being expensive it's like most things you can make it as expensive and inexpensive as you want- if you go for large mature plants they're going to cost more (you're paying for the growing time) than if you take cuttings or sow seed and grow them on.
What is your fondest memory from your Ground Force days?
I've got loads of happy and fond memories from the Ground Force days - from funny things that happened, to amazing places we visited -India, South Africa, the Falklands, the States, Jamaica and amazing people we met (Nelson Mandela being the most amazing!) but the thing that really stands out is laughing all the time so much that sometimes my muscles in my face actually hurt!
Can you tell us a little bit about your own garden and how much time you invest in keeping it in tip top condition?
Firstly I have to say my garden isn't always in tip top condition! Unfortunately I tend to be away working at the more critical busy times (Spring and Summer) so I often get behind. With all gardens it's best to do maintenance frequently and regularly that way you actually make the maintenance easier. For example by tackling weeds often they don't get the chance to set seed so long term you reduce their numbers making weeding easier and easier and by cutting lawns at least once a week you not only get an attractive finish but the lawn thickens up helping prevent weed seedlings getting in. As for my garden it's quite traditional, there's a patio area with a couple of raised flower borders, lawn with a section I leave as a meadow, mixed shrub and herbaceous borders, fruit trees and quite a large vegetable patch and yes a pond! - two tiered with a small waterfall linking them.
What is next for you?
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!
Charlie's range will be available in stores nationwide from the 29th February.