10 reasons to cultivate a garden
My Dad was a keen gardener. When I was a little girl I used to potter about in the garden with him. My first garden was a pocket handkerchief-sized space. I’m now developing a new small garden from scratch.
1. Somewhere nice to sit
The ultimate benefit of a garden is the pleasure it brings. I love sitting in my pink egg chair on a sunny day (and on cooler days but wearing a coat!) and looking round our outdoor space. I’m making plans, checking out what’s already there, envisaging the next steps. It’s like having a little outdoor room of my own.
2. Watching plants grow
Seeing plants grow from tiny seeds is the ultimate. To follow their little journey and to know the part you played in nurturing them, is life affirming. As the garden is brand new I’m trying to cultivate as many annuals as possible. I’m growing seeds, I’ve bought plug plants and some established plants.
3. Rescue plants
There are so many beautiful plants in garden centres but they often cost an arm and a leg! I’m getting a lot of satisfaction from gardening on a budget. As well as using seeds, I scout around our local DIY/garden centre for plants that are passed their best. You can buy these at reduced prices. Almost all my established plants were less than half price. I’ve taken cuttings from some as well so get even more bang for my buck! I’ve also saved the half price plants and given them a new lease of life.
4. Gardening is good for you
Pottering in the garden brings you closer to nature. You get your hands dirty, the sun/wind/rain on your face. You see the evolution of the seasons. There’s a huge sense of satisfaction after spending time in the garden.
5. A potting shed
I used to have a greenhouse. Now I have a potting shed. A combination of cultivating and storing space. I love being in there on wet days, sowing seeds or taking cuttings. Often with a podcast playing. I understand why my Dad used to love spending time in his potting shed. It's a place for reflection and contemplation, as well as pottering.
6. Bird watching
I have a few bird feeders in the garden. And I’m planting flowers that birds and bees love. We have a Robin who is a regular visitor. He hops around as I garden, looking for worms. There are Blue Tits and Goldfinches. I usually watch their antics from the kitchen. I make sure we don't disturb them when they're feeding and make my husband wait until they've gone before he opens the back door!
7. Solar lights
I like strings of twinkly lights around the garden. The shed has metres of solar lights tacked around its sides. Our gabion baskets are illuminated at night by a line of lights. And, dotted about are solar lanterns. A sign of lighter, brighter days, they bring cheer in the evening.
Because of damp clay ground we abandoned the idea of a lawn after two failures. Instead we have a courtyard style garden with gravel on the ground. Reclaimed flagstones act as spots to display potted plants and flowers. I've always loved pots because you can move them around and give your garden a whole new look and feel.
9. A daily moment
A garden (or any outdoor space) is somewhere you can go for a daily moment. A few minutes away from your desk or work. Where you can take a few deep breaths, and take a step back. Look at the sky, check on the plants, think of nothing in particular for a few moments.
10. It's good for the spirit
Even though my husband is blind, he still appreciates the garden. Now we've replaced the muddy grass with gravel, he can wander around, enjoying the crunch underneath his feet, and smell the lavender and other fragranced flowers. Being outdoors always lifts the spirits, whether you can see it or not. We both get a lot of pleasure from our garden.