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My first garden


by James Alexander-Sinclair

Do you remember the first plant you ever grew in your own garden?


Do you remember the first plant you ever grew in your own garden? Not the mustard and cress or sunflower that you nurtured in a little patch of your parents' gardens but the first plant that you grew just for yourself?

I found some ancient photographs of my first garden. I wasn't faintly interested in plants as a child - I had better things to do - but when confronted with my own garden (in 1984) I began to see the light. It was a very small concrete yard - the corrugated iron fence was a particularly attractive feature - and I suddenly discovered the joys of growing things. It was a garden that was extremely unlikely to win any design awards but those nasturtiums were the beginning of a lifetime's love affair.

The first botanical name that I learned was Symphoricarpus laevigatus 'Alba' which sounded frightfully sophisticated. I saw this shrub in a local park in Shepherd's Bush and was rather captivated by the plump white berries. At that time I knew nothing but was quite interested in finding out, so I cut off a bit and went to the library to attempt an identification: after much tracking of mud across the pages of the Reader's Digest guide to plants (my belated apologies to Hammersmith and Fulham Libraries) I left burdened with knowledge. Since then I've realised that it's an invasive and undistinguished shrub (the snowberry), quite capable of taking over great chunks of garden. Don't plant it unless you have a few acres to spare.

However, it was the beginning of a long journey. Now my brain rattles off botanical names without too much problem - although there are often moments when I see something that I know really well but cannot for the life of me remember what on earth it is called. Mind you, I do that with people even more frequently so it's probably age creeping up on me!



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Gardeners' World Web User 22/10/2008 at 03:22

"I see something that I know really well but cannot for the life of me remember what on earth it is called." Oh yes. I can relate to that. :)

Gardeners' World Web User 22/10/2008 at 07:38

my first garden was in my mothers. it was not a big garden. i always wanted a fish pond. at the time i did not have the money to pay fore a liner. well i worked on the building so i built a concrete pond. it was 10ft x9ft x 5ft deep. i used waterproofing pouder in it. when that was done.all the kids in the around came in and used it like a swiming pool fore a vew days. then i planted it . i now live in my own house and got a pond ther. maid with a liner. but i still think that concrete pond was the best one.

Gardeners' World Web User 22/10/2008 at 10:02

My Dad let me have my own border in his garden, back in the 1950s, which I filled with pansies. I still love their little faces today and always have at least one tub of them somewhere in the garden. As for forgetting things it's called a CRAFT moment - Can't remember a flipping thing!!! I have them all the time. Lorrie

Gardeners' World Web User 22/10/2008 at 16:17

I was allowed to look after some alpine strawberry plants and eat the fruit but they all got concreted over when the extension was built. :-(

Gardeners' World Web User 22/10/2008 at 21:05

I bought my first house when I was 28(after a tenement flat) and it had a huge back garden - that's where I got the gardening bug. Selling the house to move in with my hubby wasn't a hardship - not being able to take the garden with me was :-( If ever there was proof how much I love him ... I've told my hubby that with this garden there's no way I'm ever moving - too much blood, sweat and tears has gone into it (ok, the tears are just down to my hayfever)

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