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I'm sorry - I just couldn't resist this: "Anne Wareham hates gardening. She hates planting bulbs (‘I wasn’t made with a hinge in my back’). She hates cutting things down, cutting them back and pulling them out. She hates weeding. She hates the boring repetition of sowing seeds, mowing, cutting hedges, potting up and propagating. ‘Gardening is boring,’ she says. ‘If there are enjoyable jobs, they’re mostly enjoyable for the result, not the process. There is no actual intellectual content to the task itself, even if there may be in the planning and designing." Read more: XXXXXXX
Living in a room in a tenement building meant no access to growing things till I went to school and the infant teacher had us all growing cress in a saucer on the windowsill. Persistence in my desire to grow things resulted in my twelve year old uncle agreeing to me sowing marigolds and nasturtiums in my widowed grandmother's tiny garden "as long as she keeps them in a straight line" as that what he did with his vegetables. But when I was eleven and war broke out my father acquired a railway allotment and we dug for victory. Flowers were not allowed and even strawberries were frowned upon but I learned the craft from my father and the more you know of any subject the more you love it. We were able to rent a council flat when I was 15 and the back garden, though small was part of the walled garden of the demolished mansion house the estate was built on, and the gooseberry bushes were still there. That soil was very fertile and I knew the thrill of really well grown vegetables. By then, I was known as a competent gardener and could earn picture money by helping the gardener in the "big" house where my mother was housekeeper and learn all the time from him. Five years in university and another five in digs while working meant an enforced removal from the soil but, when my husband and i were house-hunting the garden was more important to me than the house and fifty seven years later it still is. It seems to me, Kate, that we all have an instinct for gardening stemming from the Hunter-gatherers we all came from and ,even if we are born without access to one, we find a way. You are so right - there should be school gardens, allotments, garden sharing,etc so that everyone has access to green space and escape from the concrete jungle.
I love gardening! I'm 22 and have had an allotment for nearly 2 years, my friends all think I'm weird but nevermind. My windowseat in my bedroom is a mini flower border, and the garden at my student house shall soon be filled with pretties :)
I have just read comment no.i and would like to suggest "grumpy" people are not nice to be with, so Anne could try learning the Latin names of all the plants in her garden, studying their biology and evolutionary history, painting a few of them, comparing her crops from year to year, trying to find more uses for the plants we do know how to grow,eg for medicine or fuel. She must surely know that some of the most intelligent people in the world are and were gardeners and enjoyed the chance to do "boring", "repetitive" tasks so that their intellect could work unhindered on the great problems of their age. Winston Churchill comes to mind.
Sometimes I guess it's in the genes... My mum always took us down to the cottage (in Hungary), which we had since I was two. She put it full of fruit trees, grown veggies, and I also had a tiny bit of land - the size of a handkerchief- under one of the sour cherries, till it shaded over and I have grown out of it. I loved the fresh peas I used to grow, and the strawberries, but there can never be better times, then picking fresh, incredibly sweet cherries from the tree from the sun-lounger, while holding a book with the other... Thought I'd never do much with plants, wanted to be a vet, and growing up in the city othewise, I never hoped to afford a place with a garden - maybe later in life. Life turned out to be different than dreams, and a bit reluctantly I had achieved (and worked hard for) a degree in Horticulture. But as I grew up, and got older, and coming to England, changed my view. I started to enjoy growing, refreshing my knowledge, and just finding joy and peace in all - even the hard work bit! Never understood why my mother couldn't sit for 5 minutes in the garden before jumping up and doing more work - now I know! Oh, and I ended up working in a plant nursery! Making whole plants out of bits and pieces is a bit like being God - sorry My Lord, but it's creation itself - a bit like having a baby, just with less pain at the end! :) Or let's call it Magic.. I feel ever so lucky to have a garden, especially as now it is brimming with fruits, veggies and there are flowers too. Each night when my husband comes home we go out with our 2-year-old, pick the raspberries, strawberries, alpine strawberries, then the peas. He will gobble them up, so we hardly actually get to taste them! I also had several salads (I don't even like lettuce, but somehow... mix, sauce, etc. and it's nice!), used the spinach, etc in sauces, soups, and other things, and my husband takes a salaf leaf or two in his sandwiches. It's such a lovely feeling to go around my garden, gather a bit of this, a bit of that.. And my toddler really loves it!He has learnt the words for these fruits (in one language or the other, whichever is easier), he helps to water everything(watered our shoes when I wasn't looking for a minute :) ), played with compost instead of sand, and always asks to go out into it, this was the first baby sign he learnt, when about 10-11 month old. My mum since told me her father was also a gardener - I didn't know that before, or wasn't interested. Now I feel it's a family thing. I can only hope I will give my son (and any other children) the "gardening bug", like my mother gave it to me, like she got it from her grandfather!


There's more to gardens than gardening. Or all that homework, thanks happymarion! (if you read the piece you'll see interviewer thought I was quite nice to be with..) XXXXX
Before I could walk I used to crawl into the garden to admire the roses :o) but my mother was not too enthusiastic! Throughout my youth the first place I ever wanted to be wherever I was, was in the garden and I was always dead-heading roses! However, I was never allowed to help or have my own small plot so I never really learnt very much. I lived abroad for several years then moved into an apartment in London where I had my outside and inside plants. When we moved to France my first plants were two rescued plants from the dustbin down the road and are now still happily giving me lovely rose blossoms 7 years later. I've no clue about the latin names of plants and I'm not much good at identifying them but my seedling have always done well and so I keep going reading books and learning as I go. My only wish is that I'll one day get my wish and have a garden of my own to design and plant. I love it!
I think its hereditary. My mum loves gardening so I was brought up with her in the garden and she gave me my own bit to plant up when I was little. Her parents loved gardening aswell and when we all met up the subject always turned to the garden. My first garden when I left home was small. It was concreted over but I had that ripped up and soil put down and designed my first garden. After a few years we bought a plot of land to build a house so I was lucky enough to design a second garden from scratch!! We have been here 8 years now and the trees are growing well and the birds are coming to the garden now. We have chickens and like my mum I am often found pottering away in the garden!! Love it!!
I only became interested in gardening last year and I am 34! I always hated it and was totally uninterested when my parents were gardening. I just decided to grow my own cherry tomatoes last year and when they were a success I really became hooked. For me its growing vegetables and I have put my name down for an allotment plot that our community are trying to start up. I also love wildlife and having a garden in an estate thrown down my developers I have quite a job now to transform it. I am presently buying plants to encourage bees and butterflies. I have become suddenly obsessed but really excited at what I may produce. It's a huge transformation and if you told me 4 years ago what I would be like today I would laugh at you. Where it has come from I dont know but it doesn't matter because I love it now.
Ilove it,the ever ending challenge to grow plants,knowing one is giving nature a helping hand,letting them turn into a picture of complete satisfaction to the beholder.Able to admire and stare at the sheer growth each plantand seed gives without being bored of looking.Something that will evolve,wether hand tended or left to a will of it's own.The planning which often does not go to plan at all, making it feel all the more exciting.Being, excitied,as new seasons come round,and above all i suppose, the joy of being in control and of ones own plot, giving in return complete satisfaction.Able to tend and fuss at ones own will.Love it.
I have slowly developed into gardening. My father has a garden that grows but one single plant "achamelia mollis" the ladys mantle. He loves it and his whole graden is covered in the stuff. Consequently a loathe the plant. I think somewhere subconciously i must have thought "i don't like this monoculture way of gardening and when i get a place of my own i will grow lots of other plants". I still don't have a place of my own but over the years i have developed my gardening skills working with and for others in their gardens. A cousin of mine in scotland gave me free reign on a field and i turned it into a garden. I have my own allotment now and grow veg everywhere, i squeeze in the flowers where i can but veg is king in my plot. I love the process of seed to earth to plate, flowers don't have the same pull except the sweet pea. Love sweet peas. Gardening is something that grows within you much like the plants we tend it starts tiny and fragile as a seed and gorws and matures over time into the seasoned oak. Its what makes life make sense.
Gardening is the greatest self satisfaction hobby in the world.There is nothing like tasting your own grown vegetables,especially potatoes.Dig,Dig,,work,work,enjoy your end product people!!
“achamelia mollis” ugly,you cant eat it,it is like a weed.What a strange like your dad had.Best of luck in removing this stuff!
Put Alchemilla mollis beside a lurid pink plant like an erodium I have or Lysimachia ciliata with its dull, dark brown leaves, or tall spiky purple bearded irises and both plants are transformed. And when it rains there is nothing prettier than the wat rain drops collect in its leaves. Flower arrangers are fond of its frothy panicles as well. I see where gathegreenfinger's father was coming from but biodiversity is much more satisfying visually and environmentally. So glad so many people love the physical side of gardening. It certainly keeps you fit growing your own food keeps you on a healthy diet t satisfy the appetite it generates. I believe gardens should be like people -all different.
Gardening has never been my favourite I hobby. I just tried to keep it tidy. I am sixty-seven and suddenly wish I had tried to be an enthusiastic gardner!!! I have discovered that an untidy garden with little neat havens is my favourite way of managing. I have neglected my garden due to the steepness of it, unable to keep up with weeding etc: I now have found I have wild life I never new I had. Plus I enjoy the whole thing weeding, getting dirty and digging. This is due to reading the blogs on this website.


My gardening started at young age when my dad had a small veg patch and a 6 by 4 greenhouse. Watching him planting potatoes and beans and a hole lot of other crops i got very interested in how things got from seed to plate. I now have a garden of my own two young girls who cannot wait till spring when dad starts getting seeds in. the older 0f the two age 9 loves to help put the potatoes and stick beans in. Unfortunately my better half only likes gardening when it is on the plate.. TEACH THE CHILDREN WELL!!!
I caught the gardening bug later in life (at 40, 3 years ago). Before that I took no interest in any gardens, they were just there. I took over the gardening after my dad died and my mum found it too much to take on. Funnily enough, my dad only took on the gardening when his father-in-law died. (His father-in-law used to come down most weekends to do the garden). My intention was just to keep it tidy and see what came up during the first year. I then started planting a couple of annuals. I did not really expect them them to survive, as my past record with indoor plants didn't leave a lot to be desired (think I over-watered them). So when the first plants I planted did start to grow and then flower, I felt an immense sense of achievement! I had actually grown something and not killed them as I would have a houseplant! I also liked to watch the plants grow, and watching the buds form and then open was amazing. I am still in awe of mother nature. I also enjoy the wildlife. Before, if I encountered a bee, though I wouldn't have flapped around, I didn't like them near me, but now I am quite relaxed with them around whilst working in the garden and enjoy wathing them collect the nectar. It's also nice to see the birds, butterflies and squirrels. I have even seen foxes and hedgehogs in the garden. Now I really enjoy planning what to have in the garden for the next season, although I agree with glou44, the planning doesn't always go as intended, but sometimes it works out better. I enjoy experimenting with colour, texture, size and form. It has been a steep learning curve and I'm still on that curve, but it's amazing that in 3 years I am familiar with lots of plants that I wouldn't have been able to name beforehand. I've got a couple of books that I've acquired, but I much prefer the hands on learning that I now have access to. It also made me realise how much hard work goes into gardening. I feel a little ashamed that I paid no attention to the garden when my dad put in all that hard work to make the garden look good. Sorry dad. Whilst the garden I now look after has the same structure my dad put in, I have now acquired another garden that is a blank slate. At present it is just a square of grass, so I have the opportunity to create a garden from scratch, which I'm looking forward to. I plan on taking my time to decide how I want the garden to look. I think I want something completely different to the garden I now tend. I am looking forward to developing the new garden and seeing where it takes me. Four years ago, I would never have believed that I would have been interested in gardening. I have always had access to a garden, but as a child I was just interested in playing in it. So I don't think you are necessarily born with greenfingers, but I do believe that anyone can develop or catch the gardening bug!
Growing up in Kenya and not having half the number of toys and electronic games children have now, I spent a lot of time outdoors. I think I have always been fascinated in how things grow and natures beauty but a move to Calgary, Alberta, Canada after I got married proved to be a challenge in gardening with the extreme climate and cold, long winters followed by very short growing seasons. Losing my husband suddenly in an avalanche a couple of years ago brought me to England to be near family. I found a house that needed a lot of work to say the least but the garden is really what sold it to me. It had been lovingly created and looked after by the previous owners and was beautiful. Now I am out there almost every day, tidying, weeding, deadheading, creating, planning.......just getting my hands in the dirt. Out there I feel at peace during such a painful time and at one with nature. If I am feeling sad, stressed, or anxious, I just put on my boots and head out and have the most wonderful day, then sleep like a baby from being so tired My two kids just don't get it when I go to pick them up from school with dirt under my nails and scratches up my arms but gardening has got me through some tough days. I read this quote the other day - "Live as if you are going to die tomorrow, garden as if you are going to live forever"
Isn't this blog just fascinating? Everyone has a different story to tell and all have messages of hope. No wonder so-called sympathy cards all have flowers on them. If you commemorate a loved one by growing a favourite plant of theirs in your garden or a rose that bears their first name, you have even more reason to go out in the garden. My late husband was blind for the last fifteen years of his life and the garden is still full of the perfumed plants I grew so he could still enjoy the garden.
I was always helping my dad in the garden when I was a child. Helping him plant tomatoes and flowers and watering them for him. Being in the garden is so relaxing and the perfect place to be if you are stressed, just a small time there and all that stress just goes away. As soon as Christmas is over I get this buzz of excitement just knowing I can get my hands back into the soil and then watching for the first sign of a shoot popping its head up. Sowing seeds and seeing them grow on to be a strong a healthy plant and knowing that it was me that did that, wow!!! there's no feeling like it.