With the excesses of Christmas now behind us and the ray of warmer days ahead, it is always time to take stock. How do you seriously plan to make 2015 a healthier and less stressful year? Everyone celebrates the virtues of the latest diet, that failsafe equipment in the gym, but is that really for you? Maybe there are budget issues, maybe it’s not about losing weight, could it be about removing stress from your life? What if help was actually right outside your front door?
Have you ever considered that gardening might be the answer for you? It is now a recognized self-help therapy. Whether indoors or outdoors, it doesn’t matter. If you’re feeling intimidated, you’ve always gone for the minimal look with weed-free gravel or a neat lawn as the scope of your gardening skills. Or maybe you’re someone who can’t tell a petunia from a thought, don’t worry. Whatever your level of knowledge or physical ability, I guarantee that there is a gardening project that is right for you.
Taken to the extreme extreme, gardening offers a wide opportunity to take these skills and even transfer them to a business level. Why not check out Georgie Newbury (Common Farm Flowers) or Derry Watkins (Special Plants Nursery) for more information? As you will soon learn, nutritious plants provide a focus to the future, build confidence, and give a renewed sense of purpose.
Some questions to consider are:
What is your level of gardening knowledge? If the answer is little, don’t worry, there are some very knowledgeable Facebook groups, gardening books, local and national gardening societies that are dying to help. Don’t forget TV shows like “Gardener’s World” and of course radio shows too.
How big is your garden? A garden is truly a joy, whatever its size. Perhaps as a beginner or someone with health problems, the whole project can seem overwhelming. May I suggest that if finances are an issue that you put an ad on your Facebook gardening page or in the local newspaper asking for volunteers to come and help with the friendship and hospitality that are offered in return. It would probably be nice to have at least one friend there to support and organize everyone if you are unsure. However, it might be worth finding out if there is an adjudication plan near you. Did you know that in 2008, there were over 300,000 parcels in the UK producing over 215,000 tonnes of produce? The downside to wanting to be a part of this ‘good life’ is the fact that there are huge waiting lists. Therefore, check with your local council or contact the National Appropriation Society for more information. If this doesn’t work, then you might consider sharing someone else’s garden. This sounds fraught with potential problems, but it is worth seeking the advice of the Landshare group created by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Or see if there is a ‘Grow your own neighborhood’ plan. Some cities even have their own individual plans. So I think this is definitely something to research on the internet and also see if your local library has any advice.
What kind of financial commitment can you give? As with any hobby, gardening can be expensive. But the days are gone when you relied solely on a supermarket / nursery for your plants with a limited choice of varieties. Now, by carefully crawling the Internet, cheaper plants can be obtained. Everything is a matter of research. Church / charity plant sales are a good source of reasonably priced treats. It is always a good idea to check the local newspaper as you can get an idea of what is going on locally. Also think about Farmer’s Markets. Newspapers often advertise groups of plants for sale at reasonable prices. Put an ad in your newspaper offering some plants for sale inviting people to trade them with you. I would like to suggest to you that a certain amount of ingenuity must be carried out on your part. Finally, one of the cheapest ways to source plants for your garden is to grow from seed. This is such an immersive project that it provides hours of work but very enjoyable!
One last thought, visiting open gardens through the National Garden Program is such a worthwhile activity that you are helping to raise much-needed funds for wonderful charities, but find that you can learn about design, plant groupings, talk to homeowners and other gardeners. about the conditions. in your area, what works well and what doesn’t. Please find out if there is a garden near you.
I hope this wonderful hobby inspires you. It will provide you with exercise, fresh air, the opportunity to meet like-minded people, perhaps even taking up photography to keep tangible memories of some of the wonderful plants and gardens you have enjoyed. It can provide hours of sheer joy tinged with frustration, but the bottom line is that you’ll feel invigorated and part of something amazing. Have fun !!