Gardening is healthy for the soul

Garden tips: Soil is healthy for the soul

Life & Style
A garden is an ongoing source of solace and fulfilment. Fiona's garden in early summer.

A garden is an ongoing source of solace and fulfilment. Fiona's garden in early summer.

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Fiona Ogilvie's gardening tips.

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Gardening's barrel continues to roll. Assisted by the pandemic, even indoor plants sales are soaring - people restricted to unit life find as much solace getting their hands grubby as do those of us lucky enough to have a garden.

Gardening has been part of my life for so long it's hard to remember a time when I didn't have perpetually scratched arms and legs, an aching back and a head full of dreams.

How do I love it? Let me count the ways.

You're alone in a garden but never lonely. I love being with my family and friends but everyone needs space and time to wind down and gardening gives me that.

One of the effects of COVID-induced isolation has been to make us appreciate more the time we spend socialising. We no longer take for granted meeting friends for a coffee, lunch, a concert.

But paradoxically, the extra time I've had for gardening has made me enjoy it even more, perhaps because the more you put into something, the more it rewards you.

There's a lesson in there somewhere.

One of the effects of COVID-induced isolation has been to make us appreciate more the time we spend socialising. We no longer take for granted meeting friends for a coffee, lunch, a concert.

I enjoy the many activities involved in gardening: weeding, planting spring seedlings and autumn bulbs, pruning shrubs, dividing perennials, sowing seeds and pricking them out, taking cuttings, planting trees, raking leaves and sweeping paving, even spreading heavy barrows of compost and lugging buckets of fertiliser around.

Related reading:Considering a cover-up | In Fiona's Garden

Every aspect of gardening makes me happy, whether in heat or snow, rain, wind or shine.

It never fails, if I'm anxious or down, ten minutes weeding or deadheading is enough to lift my spirits.

I like that gardening is always tiring and sometimes exhausting.

I'm the least sporty person on the planet, walking my dog and gardening are my main exercise, they both keep me on my toes.

A day's gardening means a good night's sleep.

I enjoy watching the garden change with the seasons.

It looks quite different today from six months ago when the trees were bare and the lawn covered in frost.

It will look different again when the rain disappears and lawns and paddocks turn brown, but however it looks, I love it.

Every plant in the garden holds a meaning for me, the memory of the person who gave it to me, the plant hunter who discovered it, the place where I first saw it growing in the wild.

Gardening iso constant challenge, there are always changes to make and new plants to try.

So much to learn - when to prune my Mexican philadelphus, how to espalier quince, when to take daphne cuttings (now).

It follows me indoors in the evening with books to read, catalogues to browse, Costa and his companions to watch on Friday.

So many ways to say how yet none of them say why.

Why do I love gardening?

I don't know why, it comes from within.

It's a gift, something I was given, for which I'm forever grateful.

Being a gardener has transformed my life.

Happy New Year, and happy gardening.

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