We are now half way through 2020 and are all slowly realising that the ‘New Normal’ is going to be our way of life, certainly for the rest of the year. So, we have all had to try to find new coping mechanisms and the main one for me has been the garden. The day before ‘Lock Down’, I was to be found raiding Notcutts for every little treasure that I could sow, grow and eat over the coming months – my form of stock piling was in full swing! I hasten to add that I was blithely blinkered to the actual size of my veggie patch and set about sowing seeds and potting up my tiny treasures and just presumed that if I ran out of space then I could supply produce to my friends. So, I think everyone that I know has had gifts of delicious edible plants and I am having such fun growing and munching them.
Home grown veggies seem to be totally unaware of supermarket conformity, as you can see from my friendly carrots – they may be odd shapes but the flavour is wonderful! The slugs and snails have not flourished in the hot, dry weather and the good news is that it is not too late to pop more varieties in! So, even though a lot of veggies are cropping there are still some that can be planted, such as leeks, cabbages, broccoli, cauliflowers and also tomatoes and runner beans, which are still available. I find that veggies are best grown in raised beds filled with good compost, or grow bags and pots if you have limited space but they do need regular watering.
I fell in love with gardening at the age of 3 and eventually trained as a Garden Designer. Helping other people to develop their gardens has made me understand how gardens can be a huge benefit to our mind, body and spirit, especially in these concerning times. If you are lucky enough to have a garden, do take the time to wander round, really looking at the myriad of greens, listen to the wind rustling in the leaves, smell the delicate perfumes around, hear the bees and insects buzzing on the flowers – even sip the rainwater inside a rose! Breathe in the smell of the earth, especially early in the morning, or late evening and treat yourself to a bare footed walk around, peeping through the plants and relax. If you don’t have an outdoor space then wander round a local park, along a river bank, or across fields to enjoy the calming effect of nature.
I leave you with a poem by Georgia O’Keefe:- ‘A flower is relatively small. Everyone has many associations with a flower – the idea of flowers. You put out your hand to touch the flower – lean forward to smell it – maybe touch it with your lips almost without thinking – or give it to someone to please them. Still – in a way – nobody sees a flower – really – it is so small – we haven’t the time – and to see takes time like to have a friend takes time. If I could paint the flower exactly as I see it, no one would see what I see because I would paint it small like the flower is small.’
By Gill Ford