HAVING a beautiful garden is something many people aspire to. However, gardening is a skill that takes time to perfect.

Hillier Garden Centres is giving its customers a helping hand to achieve their dream garden through workshops running throughout the year to encourage creativity.

I was excited to try out the Spring Hanging Basket workshop at Hillier Garden Centre in Aldermaston.

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Basingstoke Gazette: The workshop at Hillier Garden CentreWhile I enjoy spending time outside in beautiful, natural surroundings, my garden is far from Chelsea Flower Show standards!

I have picked up tips from my parents, but often struggle to find the time, or desire, to put in the real effort needed to see results. The list of gardening jobs can often seem endless, from deadheading and weeding to cutting and pruning, and gardens can quickly become overgrown and wild if neglected. That said, I’m quite proud of the wide variety of birds, bees, insets and butterflies that are attracted to my garden after putting in some effort with planting.

Keen to pick up some new skills, I was welcomed into a group with 12 others at Hillier Garden Centre to craft either two hanging baskets or planted containers under the guidance of experts.

We were first given a demonstration before having a go ourselves. Everyone was friendly and sociable, as we all chatted and enjoyed selecting which plants to use in our creations.

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I had not appreciated just how much creativity can be involved in gardening, previously seeing it as somewhat of a chore. The workshop also opened my eyes to the mindfulness benefits of gardening and the enjoyment involved in the process of creating something beautiful and then watching it grow and flourish.

The experts from Hillier helped us to understand which plants to use together, selecting a combination of upright, trailing and semi-trailing varieties to give a real wow-factor. As someone who enjoys art and painting, I realised that gardening has some similarities as I used my knowledge of colour and texture to choose which plants to combine in my pots.

Half way through the workshop we stopped for a break, enjoying a delicious cream tea in the garden centre’s café, where I chatted to other attendees, some of whom had enjoyed previous Hillier workshops. We all agreed that they are excellent value for money at just £50, considering the two plant pots I used cost almost £40 on their own.

Afterwards, we completed our creations using tiny stones on top of the soil and larger stones for decoration, which really gave the pots a professional look. I was delighted with my two pots and never would have been able to create something that looked so stunning without guidance and help.

I was so inspired by the workshop I immediately visited the garden centre afterwards to put into practice my new skills and recreate more pots at home, one of which I proudly gave as a gift to my dad for his birthday.

For more information visit hillier.co.uk.