The garden has been my sanctuary this year, and I know it has for a lot of you too. For many of you, this has been the year you first tried your hand at gardening, growing flowers or veg for the first time.=, and I hope you've got the gardening-bug like I have!
Let's face it 2020 has been rotten in so many ways, but my garden has kept me sane, given me a private space where I can relax outside, and I've treasured being able to spend more time in my little slice of heaven. I don't think my garden may ever look so perfect- there was so much time for deadheading, weeding and watering!
There are few tips for how I have made my garden my sanctuary, hopefully these may help some of you starting out:
1) I only plant flowers and plants that I absolutely love. If I grow something and decide I don't like it then the beautiy of gardening is that it is dug up and moved or given to someone who does like it. When first starting out gardening you might think you 'have' to grow some of the flowers, but if you don't like something, then don't!
2) Water- the water bowl in my garden brings a sense of calm and serenity. It is also great for the birds in the summer too. I'm also working on a water feature this Winter that should be up and running this Spring (fingers crossed I can fill the holes in the bottom)
3) Wildlife- bringing wildlife into your garden will bring you so much joy. I can't tell you how much enjoyment I get from watching birds visit the water bowl, bees visiting the flowers, and honestly, the shriek I got from coming home from a night on the town to find a hedgehog by my front door- I couldn't contain myself! I find the balance between growing for wildlife and growing to create a beautiful space doesn't have to be mutually exclusive. You can still grow a beautiful garden, and it be good for wildlife. Often wildlife gardens are perceived as being overgrown messes, but I'm on a mission to change that perception!
4) Don't stress about having the 'perfect' garden- often we compare what we're doing to others and can feel down heartened by a failed attempt, or a patch full of weeds. Don't worry about it- your garden will never be perfect, there will ALWAYS be something to do. I think that's so wonderful about gardening- it is a constantly evolving thing. It is never 'finished' or 'complete' and what an amazing thing, to do something you love that never ends.
"Gardening is an exercise in optimism. Sometimes it is a triumph of hope over experience"
5) Seating- find somewhere in the garden where you can relax. Whether it be a deckchair where you can sit and flick through a gardening magazine, a large table for BBQ's with friends, or abench hidden in a border so you can sit and watch the bees. Have somewhere where you can go and simply enjoy the garden- I have a small garden but have at least 3 places to sit, depending on the time of the day and year to where brings me most joy.
I hope these tips help in adding some calm, and creating a space where you can not only dig away and sow to your hearts content, but also sit back and relax surrounded by all your hard work.