My garden, my lifeblood

I’ve just stepped back inside from the first quiet couple of hours in our garden this spring. Sitting there in a tshirt with a cup of coffee in the warm sunshine, I felt I was gasping for air after the suffocating long winter. 

I’m not the only one, all of our plants are growing in unison faster than I remember as they race to catch up with the sudden warm spell. Where once were bare pots, plants exist. So much green. Flowers are coming and going and leaves are layering on top of one another. An eruption of life flowing over us.

Was it a longer winter or did I simply need spring to arrive more than normal? It was certainly a harsher winter. In some ways it caused me to forget the calm energy of our garden, the essence of its spirit. How much I needed it. Yet here it all was again, the leaves and shoots hidden below ground now pulsing with life. Curious little creatures flying and running about their daily business, a society on our patio.

Hope is a word often used in gardening. What is hope and how can a flower give it. Hope is a gamble, something out of our control, a sense hooked on wishful thinking. Nature is more generous than that. A garden coming to life is not hope but an invitation to better, exciting times ahead.

When I sit in our garden I don’t feel hope, I feel happy, safe and part of something. I feel what it means to be a gardener. Being a gardener is a gift, a role in the bigger picture.

Being a gardener today is a state of mind, it’s not just a job or a hobby. A gardener is observant and understanding, patient and nurturing. Looking at plants and the ecosystem they sit within to know the needs of the lives that create the whole.

Gardeners look to the future, planning ahead to give spaces the best opportunity and we know that we are connected to the results. Even when it was to stand back and do nothing.

I know my garden better than any space but it still has the ability to surprise and intrigue every day. It’s this constant change and unknown that has always kept me going, little moments of pure wonder. Spring is here and with it a rapid increase in those moments, impossible to capture, each one a hit of happiness.

“After everything that’s happened, how can the world still be so beautiful? Because it is.”
– Snowman, in Oryx & Crake by Margaret Atwood

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Jack Wallington

I'm an RHS qualified garden designer living in Clapham, London who loves growing plants and designing with them. Follow me on Twitter.

8 thoughts on “My garden, my lifeblood

  1. It has felt like a long haul to get to something approaching spring weather. It is excellent to be out in the garden, planning ahead. I just potted up some tulip seedlings that won’t flower for a good 2 or 3 years at least. It’s a long game…

  2. What a fantastic post spoken straight from the heart. Topped off with a quote from one of my favourite books – joy of joys.

    1. Thanks Alison – I often think about Oryx & Crake as it’s one of my faves too, it stayed with me ever since reading it and there are lots of parallels with what we do. In event of an apocalypse, gardeners are definitely handy people to have around!

  3. Learning lesson: I notice you repeatedly refer to it as “our garden”. Because I do all the outside work, landscaping, pruning, planting, weeding,watering, etc., I tend to refer to it as “my” garden.
    I’ll no longer do that. Thanks!
    Chuck

    1. I haven’t really given that much thought, it’s a good point. I do deliberately write it as our garden as I do feel strongly it’s Chris’ too (and Rumbles our cat’s!) I am the gardener out there but Chris has played a much bigger role in supporting me, helping and offering so much guidance that it wouldn’t exist as it does now without his input too.
      Jack

  4. Darling, Jack,
    you put into words how I feel. All Gardeners have a bond, as if we were all separated at birth & the spirit of the Garden brings us back together. There is no particular Hierarchy, from the window boxers to those with grander spaces, there is a wonderful democracy amongst Gardeners, a shared sense of wonder at the green music that our fingertips in soil begin, aided & abetted by Mother Nature who takes our offering & runs with it….

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