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Inspiration for gardeners needed at dismal time

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Gardening on the Edge by Diana Wayland

Snowdrops can brighten spirits at this time of year.
Snowdrops can brighten spirits at this time of year.

I wish more gardening programmes were shown during winter. It can be a dismal time for gardeners, even though planning for the new season can be a pleasant diversion.

But I did catch one, in two parts, reviewing its 2020 season. And very interesting it was, too.

Despite currently wintry weather, looking to the new season is the best thing to do right now. And, after the disaster that was 2020, those who got an introduction to gardening through local initiatives launched last spring and want to take it further could do worse than start to think about it now.

There is no doubt that gardening is beneficial to both physical and mental health. And gardening can be for everyone; you don't have to be an expert, or scared because you have never done it before, because there is a wealth of information available in books or on the internet if you know where to look.

Also, you don't have to garden alone. If other family or bubble members are keen, it can be even more fun as a group activity. Children can garden too, why not? As a child I did. Just keep an eye on them to ensure their safety.

Even older people can garden, and those less than able, as there are tools and methods available to help them. And you can always connect to gardening friends online for tips and guidance. Make it socially-distanced social!

But not everyone has a garden. Much less than several acres in which to plant a woodland, shady garden, dry garden, meadow garden, vegetable patch, pond garden, and all the types of garden there can be.

However, it is possible to garden in a restricted space; even a small concrete yard. The flat-dweller who gets bitten by the gardening bug can grow houseplants. There are so many to choose from to suit all types of light and temperature conditions. Some tender vegetables and herbs can be grown indoors. You can even specialise!

What I saw in the TV review was families growing vegetables together in a small space, children enjoying – under parental supervision – feeding the fish in their new pond garden, a young man who grew so many houseplants in his flat I am astonished the floor did not collapse! And many adults of all ages and skills growing vegetables, fruit, flowers and herbs in a range of plots, from large country garden, to rooftop terrace, to small enclosed but sunny yard, incorporating their art or craft in some cases, and enjoying working or sitting among them just chilling and watching the sunset.

One indoor garden was a vertical wall of bromeliads and epiphytes, skilfully arranged in a clever system to keep them healthy. And conservatories, so useful in this region if you get a lot of sunshine, and in which I grow fruiting citrus and exotics like Bird of Paradise Plant, never got a look in!

I found it inspirational. And I do already garden! Admittedly, in a far more challenging locality than any of these people have to deal with, but many of these have just started from scratch and learned along the way – as one explained, look at what plants thrive around you and start with them, as I did.

And there is no reason why you shouldn't, either.

Do you think you might take the plunge?

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