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Meet ‘The Houseplant Doctor’ today at Highcross

Leicester’s own gardening expert, Joe Bagley, will be at Leicester’s Highcross Shopping Centre today to launch its new immersive gardening experience, ‘The Walled Garden.’

Situated on the lower mall near Damaged Society, and running from today (Monday 25 March) until Saturday 30 March, shoppers can come along to the event to take part in a range of spring-themed garden activities including pottery painting and seed planting, suitable for all ages.

Leicester Time: Meet 'The Houseplant Doctor' today at Highcross
Picture: Joe Bagley

With the help of Highcross’ team of garden ambassadors, guests can take part in a big planting project – inviting them to sow a range of flower seeds, including sweet peas, forget-me-nots and chamomile in their very own compostable, eco-friendly pots.

Once planted, visitors can choose to take their plant pot home or leave it on the specially designed pallet-shelves, forming Highcross’ very own growing installation. Once complete, The Walled Garden will be relocated to St Peter’s Square, growing the flowers just in time for Spring.

Joe Bagley, also known as ‘The Houseplant Doctor’, will be at the event today, to provide shoppers with advice on gardening, spring planting tips and the benefits of the activity on our mental health.

According to mental health charity, Mind, over 7 million people have since taken up gardening as a hobby following the pandemic, helping an astonishing 63 percent of UK adults with their mental health and stress.

Commenting on the activity, senior general manager at Highcross, Jo Tallack, said: “With the days getting longer and lighter, there’s no better time to launch our Walled Garden experience, which we hope will encourage people to take up a new skill or get out into their gardens at home and enjoy nature. As well as celebrating the arrival of spring, this event showcases the importance of three things – sustainability, mental health and doing our bit to make the planet a greener place for us, and our local wildlife.

“The event, taking place during the Easter holidays, welcomes both seasoned gardeners and first-time planters alike, as well as painters and crafters, to enjoy a spot of indoor gardening and painting, no matter the weather. Events tied to creativity and nature are proving more and more popular, particularly since the pandemic, as they hold immense value for our mental health. So, we’re encouraging shoppers of any age to stop by the centre and enjoy our memorable, eco-friendly experience, knowing that they’re doing their bit to help our local community.”

Ahead of the launch of The Walled Garden, Joe Bagley, who presents Gardeners’ World Live, added: “Like music and food, gardening is an international language – in the sense that you don’t have to speak the same language to understand how it all works. The techniques and time that go into gardening are often the same everywhere in the world, so it feels like a real shared experience, and one that so many of us love.

“From a global perspective, our mindset towards gardening has shifted so much in the last five years – particularly since Covid, where millions of people sought to make their own houses, and gardens, an oasis. Since then, people of all ages and backgrounds have been able to benefit from the fresh air, being among nature and the abundance of mental health benefits, including the ability to ‘get out of your head and into your hands’.

“It’s refreshing to see a business, like Highcross, swapping the traditional easter egg hunts for an event geared towards gardening, sustainability and improving our mental health, and I’m delighted to be a part of it. I’ll look forward to chatting to shoppers about the latest tips for cultivating their spring gardens at home, and offering some advice into the benefits of gardening on our wellbeing, when the event kicks off on Monday 25th March.”

Meanwhile, shoppers will also have the opportunity to take photos in front of the garden themed selfie wall and take part in a free pottery painting session (booking required), run between 12pm and 6pm where participants will be provided with a ceramic pot to decorate, plant, and take home with them to grow.

For more details, visit