National Plant Health Week 6 – 12 May 2024

Keeping our garden in blooming health

There are many different elements to keeping the Healing Garden healthy to protect the benefits plants provide to us all, the environment and wildlife. One way is to reduce the need to buy new plants with the ever-present risk of plant health problems being introduced on new plants. This week our volunteers have been pricking out and potting on our nectar-rich annual seedlings which we sowed inside our lovely potting shed on a very wet and windy Maundy Thursday. Since then our seedlings have been sheltered from the strong winds and heavy rain showers in our wonderful Alitex coldframe and are doing very well.

This is a good time of year to divide plants to get more of your own plants for free and fill in any gaps in your garden.

We continue to improve our biodiversity and sustainability. Our newly sown wildflower meadow will produce a richer diversity of plants and encourage a wider variety of beneficial insects and pollinators into the garden.

Our ‘home-made’ leaf mulch has been put to good use in beds and borders which improves our soil health and feeds and increases plant vigour – all for free. We manage the health of the garden without the use of pesticides so as not to kill beneficial insects and organisms and therefore accept some level of plant damage by insects. This also means not over-manicuring the garden and allowing insects to enjoy the longer grass and enabling wildflowers to appear at this time of the year. Unfortunately changes in climate, especially warmer winters, may enable more pests and diseases to become established in our gardens, so it’s more important than ever that we keep a close eye out for pests and diseases so we can deal with them early on, before they do too much damage and keep the garden, and its biodiversity, in good health.


Brenda Prada, Harefield Healing Garden Head Gardener

 Photo is of the beautiful Cercis Siliquastrum