My husband and I rent our home and it has a small front garden, which we try to keep tidy by cutting back the prickly, red Barbary shrubs someone before us planted and tending the half-barrel planters with our own little Japanese Acer tree, Tayberry, and Montbretia, but we’ve never really invested in the garden because there was always the possibility that we might move (though we’ve lived here for three years now), and we didn’t want to plant seeds only to be gone before they flowered.
I find myself feeling garden envy whenever I visit my parents. Mum primarily grows fruit because it’s easy to grow and expensive to buy in the shops, she reaps strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, rhubarb, apples and plums. Dad prefers to grow vegetables and takes pride in cooking us roast dinners with his own potatoes, parsnips, carrots, beetroot and onions.
It might sound melodramatic but I believe gardening provided a lifeline to both my parents in difficult times. Through periods of my childhood, when my parents were hard up, mum grew her own fruit and vegetables to save money. Later, when dad was going through hard times, gardening provided a distraction from his troubles, as he devoted himself to building raised beds, turning the soil, sowing seeds and eventually harvesting his crops.
Gardening is a lesson in delayed gratification. The slow, steady pace of gardening encourages us to work hard today and look forward to reaping our rewards tomorrow.
Our own little patch is too exposed for us to enjoy sitting outside in the sunshine, but I find myself furtively eyeing up garden furniture anyway. We are lucky to have lovely parks practically on our doorstep and the beautiful Scottish countryside not far away, but I yearn for a little patch of earth of my own to cultivate; I long to grow snowdrops in January, tulips in Spring and big, bold roses in Summer. One day we will have a garden of our own to lovingly tend, but until then I will gaze at other people’s gardens for inspiration with just a hint of envy. Have a lovely week.