by Janis on 16th September 2022 / 0 comments

Invaluable help at your fingertips

I decided to write this post about the free RHS ‘My Garden’ planner, as I was looking for an app or an online garden plant organiser which could assist me. I wanted to know how to look after my existing flowers, shrubs, and herbs and have the option to look for new ones.

Ideally, I wanted the horticultural information to all be in one place and that I wasn’t hopping from one website or app to another.

Now, I’m not saying that the RHS ‘My Garden’ is perfect, as I use an app in conjunction with the RHS functionality. My understanding is that the RHS Planner is only available online, and I’m not too sure if they plan to have it linked to an app. Personally, this is the only negative point I have.

However, the flexibility and ease of use that the ‘My RHS’ account offered ticked a lot of boxes. Particularly as their website is laid out clearly, easy to use and provides valuable information on when and how I should be pruning and maintaining my plants.

Although if you use any free apps that you find invaluable, I’d love to hear about them.

Pinterest?

The pin image for our post - Creating your RHS ‘My Garden’ planner
Why not Pin it for later?

Open your free RHS account

No garden plot is too small

So, firstly, set up your free My RHS account; this is quick and easy, once you’ve created your online account, you’re instantly good to go.

There is an abundance of free advice and inspiration on the RHS website to help all skill levels, from your bumbling gardener like me to your green-fingered expert. It also doesn’t matter how big or small your plot or balcony is; there’s something for everyone.

The 'Gardening with the RHS' page of the RHS website that provides a launchpad for further content on planning your garden
The 'Gardening with the RHS' page

You can, of course, become an RHS member, and then even more of the RHS website will open at your fingertips.

You’ll also be able to visit 5 RHS Gardens dotted around the UK and benefit from offers and personalised gardening advice.

The Jellicoe Canal facing the Water Lily Pavilion from the Arts and Crafts Wisley Laboratory
RHS Wisley
Take a look at our RHS Wisley post for a little inspiration.

Identifying your plants

Know your species and varieties
I digress now, but this year we’ve been re-acquainting ourselves with our garden as it has been neglected over the last couple of years. We decided that with one of our borders which is quite deep and in full sun for most of the day, we would endeavour to create a cottage garden border. This has been more challenging than I anticipated, firstly, as I underestimated the number of plants required and secondly, the drought that took hold in the southeast of the UK.
A collection of 15 plus labels from plants that we have planted in our Cottage Garden
Some of the plants purchased
I mention this because each time I purchased a plant, I kept the label; in hindsight, this has helped populate the ‘My Plants’ section within the RHS ‘My Garden’.
The Spiraea Arguta "Bridal Wreath" after a firm pruning in the cottage garden bed
Our Cottage Garden border - a work in progress

Alternatively, I use a great app to identify shrubs and flowers, and that’s PlantNet. Ideally, this would be ideal if RHS offered similar functionality to PlantNet, whereby you take a snap of the leaf, flower, or fruit.

You can then use this information to populate the ‘My Plants’ section of the RHS website.

I also use this app while visiting National Trust gardens; it’s become invaluable, certainly while we were strolling around Sissinghurst Castle Garden and gaining inspiration for our own garden.

Start creating your garden sections

Lists are the way forward

Now, back to RHS ‘My Garden’, so you’ve set up your account; now click on the My Garden tab and then the ‘My Plants’ icon. Within this window, navigate to the red ‘New List’ button.

I found it helpful when using the site to break my garden down into sections; RHS refer to these as lists; however, you can name each list whichever name you wish. So, when you add a new plant into RHS ‘My Plants’, you can visualise it instantly within the section of your garden you created.

The 'My Plants' page of the RHS Garden Planner website with picture icons of the plants I have selected for our garden
My plants page

I have lists named Cottage Garden, Courtyard Patio, Front Garden, Shady Beds etc., etc. Obviously, it depends on the size of your plot, but I think it would assist with any area.

So, each time you create a list, it will appear within ‘My Plants’; you then click on the newly named box, e.g., ‘Front Garden’, and you can start populating your new segment by clicking on ‘+Add a plant’.

This is where it comes in handy if you have the variety name as well as species, as the RHS database is quite extensive and can be extremely accurate in its search. So, the more info, the better; using the PlantNet app will undoubtedly come in handy here.
The 'My Plants List' page of the RHS Garden Planner website that splits my plants into the different sections of our garden
My Plant List page

Also, if you are up on the Latin names for your plants, you can use this in conjunction with its English name.

Keep adding more and more plants, and your floral planner will start to fill out nicely.

Within this page, there is also a tab named ‘Plants I want’; create yourself a ‘Wishlist’ and add all those plants and flowers you’ve longed for.

‘My calendar’ has you covered

It’s populating before your eyes

Now, all the while you are populating the lists from each of the sections of your garden, the ‘My Calendar’ tab is automatically updating with all the tasks that need to be completed for your chosen plants.

This is the bit I love, as the calendar will let you know which tasks you should be undertaking each month of the year. You’ll be updated with a monthly email, whether it is sowing seeds, propagating, pruning, or feeding.

The 'My Calendar' page of the RHS Garden Planner website with a schedule of work required in our garden.
My Calendar Page

You can just navigate to the ‘My Calendar’ tab and see all the jobs listed for each plant. It allows you to filter between the different job types or plants. Or you can opt to see them all in one view.

As you scroll down, you’ll see your to-do list, and if you click on the drop-down arrow, you can tick the jobs off once they are completed.

Our well-used Kent and Stowe Eversharp secateurs trimming a Laurel bush
Time to prune

I have found this very useful for pruning my flowers and shrubs. Once you click on each plant, it will open another window related to that plant and guide you through the pruning tasks at hand. Usually, shrubs fall within a particular Pruning Group, and there are 13 of these.

When you add a plant to your list, you can also view the information related to it; it will also detail which number pruning group your plant falls into.

‘My grow your own’ planner

It’s all about herbs and vegetables

The RHS, ‘My Garden’, can also be used for growing vegetables and herbs, just click on the ‘My grow your own’ tab and start adding your vegetables, herbs, and soft fruits.

We don’t currently have a vegetable patch; however, we have a herb garden we created earlier in the year. Therefore, we can add all our herbs to this section, populating our monthly tasks into a separate ‘My grow your own’ calendar.

A sundial stands at the edge of our outdoor herb garden with a mix of potted and planted herbs.
Our Herb Garden

Another helpful tab is ‘My Ideas’, where the RHS offers valuable guidance in filling out beds and borders, planting up containers and pots or trying to cover an ugly fence. All you need to do is answer a few simple questions, and the RHS will offer you some ideas.

Go on, give it a go!

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