In this post, Lucy shares her gardening journey from being a child through to present day.
One of my earliest memories of growing something from seed was back when I was a gnome. Not a real gnome of course, a proud leader of the gnome patrol at my local Brownie Guide pack. I was trying to earn my gardening badge and it involved growing some sweet peas, nasturtiums and chives. Despite the brownie leader telling me my chives looked like a clump of weeds (how rude) I earned my badge and mum had some sewing of a different kind to do.
Gardening was part of family life for me. At one point, we had a large vegetable patch, 4 varieties of soft fruits and an orchard of apple and pear trees. Sneaking a strawberry (or 5) off the plant, was part of my childhood I remember with equal parts fondness, and nostalgia.
Fast forward through my teenage years (couldn’t have cared less) and my twenties (too busy partying) and I found myself buying a flat in London, living with my boyfriend and possessing a decent size garden.
We had grand plans. There was a veg patch already in situ, so before too long we were experimenting with growing our own. Without realising it at the time, we were blessed with decent soil, sun and shelter, so were able to grow tomatoes, peppers, courgettes and chilli’s outside with relative ease.
We also had fun adding to the non-edible plants already well established by the previous owners. Peony, Rose, Grasses and Hydrangea – we really didn’t know how lucky we were! Before long we had an attractive outside space for partying, BBQ’s, drinking games and late nights sat round our rusty Chimenea with friends. Back when no sleep and hangovers weren’t a problem.
It was in this garden that I thought my love for gardening may be dead and buried. I woke one morning to the sight of a MASSIVE dead rat (it was the size of cat I swear) lying on our veg patch. Its fair to say it did put me off for a while, but the lure of growing, nurturing and finally eating the freshest vegetables, got me back out there digging over the patch. After my boyfriend had removed the rat of course.
After starting a family we moved back to our home county of West Yorkshire. We bought a new (ish) build home and were faced with starting again from scratch with our garden. There was literally nothing in it, except a badly growing patch of grass. The trials and tribulations of this garden are a whole other blog post, but it’s fair to say that despite the inevitable frustrations and setbacks my love for gardening and outdoor spaces has deepened and strengthened over the years.
My relationship with the outdoors changed again after starting a family. Having young children forces you to reconnect with nature – getting them outside to run around and let off steam is both a necessity and a god send for your sanity (well it was for me!). Taking the kids to the park, going on a bike ride, picnicking outside are activities that cost nothing, kids love them, plus they remind us of our childhoods. Blackberry picking with my son was a real highlight for me and took me back in time more years than I care to remember.
Now that my son is older, we have less trips to the park, but we are lucky enough to live in a neighbourhood where the kids play out together, while I potter about in the garden, feel the sun on my face occasionally (this being Yorkshire) and just breathe.
My garden is nothing special but it is my sanctuary. It’s not just good for the soul, for me its medicine. I swear I feel better just looking at it through the window! There are so many benefits both physical and mental, get out there and have a go! Reconnect with growing something, sneak a strawberry and fall in love with gardening again, or for the first time. And ignore anyone telling you your chives look like weeds – that’s how they’re supposed to look!
Best wishes and happy growing!