I grew up watching a lot of wildlife programs. Like most Brits, I consider David Attenborough to be a national treasure. I also had a fairly mundane childhood, so often, a Friday night would be spent watching Gardeners’ World at 8 p.m. on BBC 2.
The funny thing about that is, now in my mid 30s and in an amazing relationship, spending a Friday evening watching Gardeners’ World is perfection. If David Attenborough were a comic book super hero then he’d be on the level of Superman. Monty Don would be more like DareDevil, formidable but someone you’d come across on a more regular basis (apologises for mixing DC and Marvel).
Having watch Gardeners’ World throughout my tender and informative years, I’ve now reached the stage in life where firstly, I have an amazing woman in my life who has gifted me this veritable dream of a garden to have fun with and secondly (resisting the temptation to deliberate say “(b)” instead of secondly) I have just enough order in my personal finance to spend a bit on things that make me happy.
In all honesty, I didn’t expect to enjoy being surrounded by beautiful plants quite as much as I currently do. When I moved into to my fiancée flat, I really didn’t think much of the garden. But then she decided she wanted me to drive her to the garden centre.
The odd thing is that, as much as I enjoyed watching other people with their beautiful gardens, the same way I enjoy watching those crazy people on Grand Designs, I never thought I’d be one of those people wilfully tipping their wallets out onto the soil. I mean, when you think about it, it’s some level of lunacy.
Our first trip to The Nunhead Gardener resulted in an outlay of several hundred pounds. This is for something that we then have to water, daily. And in the knowledge that eventually, it will wither and die. That last part is what causes me the most stress. Mainly because of the inevitability of it. But also, because I know I don’t know enough to delay the inevitable.
It’s this stress, along with the desire to want to prolong the beauty of the flowers we bought, that has led me to starting this blog.
The photo above, is how the garden looks today, shot taken at about 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 22nd. London has had a bit of a mess of a year so far. I won’t get into current affairs in this post but I may in subsequent posts. Plant-wise, it’s worth noting that we’ve had what many publications and media outlets are calling a heatwave. I myself, got off a South West train because it was too hot and I was sweating profusely. I then order a cab, purely for the sake of air conditioning.
With that being said, I think, despite my atrocious photography skills, the garden is looking pretty good. I don’t know what a lot of the plants are called. We bought a bunch that were selected purely on impulse. Actually, that’s not fair, my soon-to-be better half had some kind of plan which she couldn’t fully articulate, I went along for the ride, and to provide a ride, as she prefers not to drive. What has been achieved, almost by accident, is a little oasis in the city.
At the front of the building where we live is a busy A road. When the buses stop at the traffic lights outside of our flat, the rumble from their engine causes the glass in the windows to shake in their frames. But from the cushion of the garden chairs, you’re not bothered by all of that.
Therein lies the joy of being a gardener in the city. Having a garden and immersing yourself in nature, releases all the stress of being in an urban environment. This was a ‘light bulb’ moment for me. There are clever people in different parts of the world who have done research on how nature helps humans with mental stress. I didn’t think much of that all. I do now.
I’m going to see how far this energy takes me. And I’d quite like to have some sort of record of it too. I’m gardening in the city. This is the first post, and I hope there are many more.