Wednesday, 24 May 2017

When You're Feeling Low: Grow Something


We've been through what felt (to me at least) like a very long winter. We are facing uncertain times and everything is a little scary. There are lots of things we can't control and sometimes it's difficult to see progress or imagine change. I find that growing something is a wonderful way to counteract this winter stagnation and feeling of helplessness. 

Surrendering control to nature is to witness the good in the world. It tells us that everything will work out. Yes your seedlings might get eaten by slugs and the frost may bite your dahlias but you can be pretty sure that if you stick a plant into compost and water it, it will grow.

Now, don't get me wrong, I know very little about growing things. I rely upon information from my Mum and Dad and adopt a make-it-up-as-you-go-along attitude to planting. My garden is by no means perfect: everything is a little leggy and scorched by the sun and of course the odd geranium has fizzled out when we've forgotten to water for a month (or two). 

I've talked about my parents' allotment before and a have a little advice for you, should you want it: Go to someone else's growing space and help out a little. Maybe, like me, you have a family member with an allotment, perhaps a friend with a flower border or a sister with a sad looking window box. It can be daunting  to be responsible for your own growing space and it can become a chore but to visit someone else's growing space and help it to thrive? Well that's a win-win right? 

When I visit the family allotment I sit on the ground, pull weeds, water and help to build wigwams. I'm happy to be told what to do and to lazily potter about amid the scent of damp earth. I am not responsible for the plot but I am contributing to its well-being and in turn my own. It feels good to help out and I spend valuable time with loved ones. 

Here are a few gardeny things to try that I find immensely therapeutic:
  • Sitting in the dirt - something we tend to stop doing as we get older and start paying for our own clothes (ouch) and spend our days sitting at desks. Or, even better...
  • Lying in the dirt - it smells amazing and is very freeing. Akin to rolling down a hill as a six year old.
  • Weeding - playing Garden God as you pluck unwanted specimens from the earth - the person who pulls out the most root is the winner.
  • Dead-heading - plucking off the past-it flower heads to make way for fresh ones is cathartic.
  • Digging - just for a minute or two feels incredibly virtuous and industrious. After 30 seconds to a minute feel free to collapse into a heap of exhaustion (see above).
  • Watering - find the biggest watering can rose you can for the prettiest display and highest chance of rainbows.
  • No phones (except to take the odd picture) - the sun is probably too bright to see the screen anyway and we wouldn't want to drop it into the water butt now would we? 
  • Just watching - go back and see what's happened since you last looked. The first peek of a seedling from the earth is basically a miracle.
  • Picking what you (or others) grow - grab a sprig of mint and stick it in a mojito, place a jug of marigolds on the kitchen table, gorge on strawberries, nibble at rosemary (or try my Spring is Here Natural Foot Soak!)
Does anyone agree with me or have I just become Earth Child (a name my Dad dubbed me as I stick a sprig of mint in my hair)?


Hx













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