Celebrating the Joy of Plants

It wasn’t until I started planting my own seeds that I truly discovered how wonderful it can be to watch something grow from something so tiny. Every day I would check on my small seedlings to see if they had grown and my goodness they had!

I first began with Italian cherry tomato seeds that I had bought from the local farm shop, not knowing much about planting I bought some simple potting compost from a garden centre and filled up some leftover Chinese takeaway pots with the compost and without much confidence sprinkled these little seeds all over the tub practically covering the whole thing. Knowing nothing about gardening or how to plant seeds I certainly didn’t space them in any way, or with much style but I covered them in water and left them by a window in my shed for a few days.

I was amazed that when I came back, so many seeds had germinated that I didn’t know what to do. I invested in a small propagating tray and more compost and planted as many as I could. I have a very small courtyard garden so didn’t have a clue where I was going to put them all.

Each day I would check back and when they were strong enough and the risk of spring frosts had passed, I planted them in our little garden which previously had been covered in weeds and was in a very sorry state. I loved watching them grow and started to watch Gardeners’ World; Monty Don became the oracle and each week I would watch and be fascinated by this new world. I started to buy little plants at the local supermarket and would fill pots by the front door, my neighbours would walk by and pass a friendly comment about how much better it was looking than before, and it was a lovely moment – just to pass the time of day with a friendly face. We had a very sad looking wisteria going across our garage door and while in the first year it didn’t flower I started to carefully prune and nurture it and over the last three years it has started to flower with lovely purple tendrils – not many but it’s a start.

I poured over gardening books and encouraged my daughters to pop out with me and choose flowers to grow and plant. My youngest takes great delight at pruning the apple, bay and wisteria tree as she gets to go up the ladder – thankfully with me holding her steady while various pieces of foliage lands on my head and not in the gardening bag much to her amusement.

During this time my eldest daughter started to take an interest in houseplants and found a beautiful shop in the town that has a fabulous collection of houseplants, she would often go shopping with her friends and rather than return with clothes, she would come home with a large paper bag. Inside would be a very precious and carefully carried on the train, new addition to her growing plant family.

I have become the chief potter-upper of these special plants as they have outgrown their nursery pots and I have had to learn the hard way that these plants require special soil and special drainage, humidity and light management to keep them happy. We’ve encountered a few pests such as fungus gnats and spider mites along the way that completely wiped out a String of Pearls (Senecio Rowleyanus) but we are now being very vigilant with these precious plants to try and keep the bugs at bay.

My book collection has grown, as has my fascination with people on YouTube, the internet and on social media. I have some firm favourite websites that I visit and I am learning more about this wonderful world everyday.

This year I am planning a small cut flower garden and after purchasing some late Dahlias at very cheap prices last year I have stored them carefully in the shed with the hope to have a bumper crop of flowers this year. I have also been watching how my existing plants have changed throughout the year and given their crops of seeds ready for me to plant up for new flowers and plants this year and beyond.

My equipment list has grown extensively from rubber gloves, compost and a packet of seeds I started with. My wishlist for Christmas was a large heated mat for my seedlings – so exciting! I would like to say I’m starting to get the hang of understanding this gardening lark until a big crop of bugs land on my precious plants or a happy plant suddenly dies on me, but I’ve never felt more alive and more at peace especially when I’m sitting on my little garden bench with a cup of tea looking at all the flowers and plants I’ve managed to nurture and grow.

The birds flit in and out of our garden and enjoy our feeders, in the morning we have a little family of starlings and blue tits who line up for their breakfast. I’ve also been mindful to choose pollinating flower seeds that are good for hoverflies and bees to encourage more wildlife into our little patch, I’m so excited for this next year to see what pretty things we can nurture throughout the seasons.

I am so happy to share this special journey with you and I would love nothing more than to hear that something I have put on this website has helped you. If you have never even picked up a packet of seeds – start today – get planting or buy that little plant in an independent shop, research and enjoy!

Oh and those tomatoes kept us going well into the autumn – they were wonderful and so tasty! So whatever stage you are at in your green growing world, I encourage you to just start whether you are growing some herbs on a windowsill or redesigning a whole garden, put down the tech and get involved in something that will give back to you and help you to relax. Most of all have fun!