A village in Northern Ireland is using their hanging flower baskets in this unusual way

How community gardeners are lifting spirits during lockdown

A village in Northern Ireland has swapped their usual floral hanging baskets for vegetables to help the local community during lockdown.

Related: 10 signs you are a Master of Gardening – how many can you tick off?

At this time of year village, volunteers would usually be working tirelessly to prepare themselves for the RHS Britain in Bloom competition. An annual competition that sees 250,000 volunteers across the country work tirelessly to transform towns into colourful floral displays.

A hanging basket made from a colander with pink and purple flowers

(Image credit: Mark Scott)

However, after the competition was put on hold, volunteers have been using their green thumbs to lift neighbours spirits. In Castlecaulfield in Northern Ireland volunteers are encouraging neighbours to grow their own produce.

The volunteers are making it as easy as possible for residents to enjoy a little greenery while staying home by sowing microgreens in pots and dropping them off on doorsteps. They are also filling the village hanging baskets with herbs and tumbling tomatoes, for residents to enjoy when they ripen in Summer.

a lady in a red jacket tending to a plant in her garden

(Image credit: RHS Britain in Bloom/ Castlecaulfield)

Growing vegetables in hanging baskets is surprisingly easy, and a great tip for small gardens. Vine crops and smaller vegetables work best, so follow Castlecaulfields lead and start with cherry tomatoes and herbs.

However, the community gardeners in Castlecaulfied aren't the only ones supporting their neighbours with a little flower power. In Stony Stratford in Milton Keynes, volunteers are dropping of sunflower seedlings on the doorsteps of elderly people. They are also growing vegetables to donate to the local food bank.

A lady in a blue cardigan tending to potted plants in a garden seated at a white garden table

(Image credit: RHS Britain in Bloom/ Stony Stratford)

In Rainham in London, free seeds and plant care packages are being delivered to encourage residents to plant up gardens, balconies and window boxes. Ballymena in Northern Ireland is bringing a little sunny cheer by offering free sunflower seeds for residents to grow at home.

'It's incredibly heartwarming to hear how many groups are drawing on their strong community spirit to help others during lockdown. From simply brightening someone's day with a doorstep plant delivery to growing fresh produce for food banks,' says Andrea Van-Sittart, RHS Head of Community Outreach.

Related: Brilliant budget garden ideas that will boost your outdoor space without breaking the bank!

'Gardening can be a real lifeline for people in challenging times, with some people saying how important this is to their wellbeing now more than ever.'

Rebecca Knight
Deputy Editor, Digital

Rebecca Knight has been the Deputy Editor on the Ideal Home Website since 2022. She graduated with a Masters degree in magazine journalism from City, University of London in 2018, before starting her journalism career as a staff writer on women's weekly magazines. She fell into the world of homes and interiors after joining the Ideal Home website team in 2019 as a Digital Writer. In 2020 she moved into position of Homes News Editor working across Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, Gardeningetc and Ideal Home covering everything from the latest viral cleaning hack to the next big interior trend.