Article written for Oxfordshire County Council’s Spring Newsetter, 2013
Most of us empathise with plants, even those that have shown no desire to tend to them. Think of the number of times that you have stopped to admire a view, comment upon the intense green of newly unfurled spring leaves or the vivid carpet of bluebells seen from a car window. Whether there is just one or thousands, plants affect every one of us – even if only because we like to eat fruit or vegetables. Now imagine capturing these moments through gardening, whether it is growing a bunch of flowers for a vase, a window box full of herbs for the kitchen or picking strawberries and raspberries to add to your breakfast cereal. All far too difficult? Think again.
Forget the gardening manuals full of technical terms and those tricky Latin plant names; just go outside and make a start for enthusiasm is the best teacher. Once you’ve tasted succsess you will want to discover more and with each season your knowledge will expand. Every time you plant something, nurture it and see it come to flower or bear fruit you reconnect with nature, with the miracle that is the living world and become more centred in the process.
There is only one golden rule: don’t create a garden that takes more time to look after than you can spare. This may mean just one small flower bed or just one specimen plant in a pot and that’s fine but do make sure that they are kept up to the mark. If the plant fails or starts to look shabby be ruthless: tidy it up or get rid of it altogether. There is no such thing as failure in gardening – a dead plant just gives you the opportunity to grow something else in its place.