What Does A Garden Mean To You? Part 2

Last month we put out a call to ask you about your gardens and what they meant to you. We have had avalanche of responses, or maybe it should be a more garden related metaphor, like a crumbling of compost or a 100% germination. Either way we have been humbled, delighted and thankful that so many of you want to share your garden with us. Here is why one gardener who contacted us gardens.

Catnapping in the back garden

I said in my seedy penpals post that for me gardening and growing feels like an inheritance. 

All neglected gardens start somewhere

New growth in a new space

My grandma was an amazing gardener and I grew up in the acre of garden she and my great-grandparents created on an old orchard in Lincolnshire. The garden was in segments, including a birch avenue and two weeping birches in different corners. There was a eucalyptus and a sunken garden near to the house and I cried bitterly when the sunken garden was filled in and a new garage put on top. The majority of my early memories took place in that garden and I much as I treasure them now, as a child I was never much of a gardener. I was cajoled into growing the marigold seeds that came with a McDonalds Happy Meal. When we moved house I was given an old sink to make a sink garden in. I grew a lavender and a hosta and some weeds in it. The best part of gardening for me was measuring the rain in the rain gauge every day. (Sometimes accompanied by my goose-shaped windsock.)

Cut to university and my twenties. Living in houses for only a year means you can't make much impact (at least an impact you'll be there to enjoy). Moving to Leeds meant that gardens were normally made in concrete yards. I've become better and better at growing things in pots and my Lincolnshire blood means I am a master of growing potatoes in bags. I've always wanted to grow and tend, but it ebbs and flows according to how busy I am. It is still telling that when I was on internship in Oxford last summer, the first thing I bought for my unfamiliar room was a cyclamen. My Grandma's presence is there in the choice of a cyclamen. Her knowledge passed on to me subconsciously as I'm pretty good with plant names (but only of the ones in our old garden). 

Now I've moved into a house with my boyfriend and I've inherited his much neglected garden. Small starts have been made and there's a plan for a big bed near the house, full of useful herbs and plants. I don't want a regimented garden, but one that's interesting and useful. I'd like to be able to say what most/all the plants were and to be able to use them (in one way or another). I'm learning all the time and the pots I've brought with me from my other houses show what I've learnt in the past - bulbs for the Spring from when I was in my muscari phase. Odd poppies in other pots. A black currant, a redcurrant and a gooseberry (waiting to find forever homes). Herbs, straggling and struggling. 

There are a couple of triumphs: the lovage I bought and then the slugs ate to death, whose root-stock I saved and is now flourishing; the jerusalem artichokes that I weeded from a friend and have put in a bag and are growing, but I'm not really sure what happens now. 

I'm hopeful and don't expect instant changes. My garden is something I like to return to, make little in roads into and get bits of satisfaction from. We're hear for about five years and I'd like to get it closer to something I'd like, but I'm not expecting miracles. All the advice, I'd love to receive, but for me my garden means creation. Watching seeds grow, watching weeds grow and experimenting. My fingers aren't green, so my experiments don't really ever work, but it's nice to try.

This blog post was written by Lucy from Offally Good. You can visit Lucy's blog and see how she brings her neglected patch back to life.