By Alison Cram

19th June 2020

Categorised in Health & Wellbeing

Episode 1  

Gardening wasn’t a feature of my life when I was younger – I had places to go and people to see. I loved the outdoors but it I preferred to be out walking the hills or going for a run through city parks to pottering in a garden.

But as I settled into my own flat in my late thirties, I became more interested in having some greenery around my home. I acquired several houseplants and learnt how not to kill them. A few pots of herbs and salad leaves grew on my kitchen windowsill.

Then in 2013 I moved back to live with Dad and his garden became my garden too. Unfortunately, I was so busy trying to get to grips with my new caring role that gardening wasn’t a priority. It was frustrating – a lovely garden just outside the window but rarely the time to spend in it. Between my brother and I we managed to cut the grass, pull out the biggest weeds from the gravel path and prune anything that threatened to get completely out of hand. But that was about it.

Last year, as Dad became ever frailer, we increased the number of carers coming in to help out and that allowed me to venture into the garden. I successfully grew some salad leaves in a box on the patio and planted out some spring bulbs. I discovered that there are few things more enjoyable than pottering in the garden – getting my fingers in the soil, watching seedlings emerge, hearing the bees buzzing amongst the flowers.

Then last month I had a little health scare, which forced me to acknowledge that I have to make time for my own wellbeing. I can think of no better way to improve my physical and mental health than spending more time in the garden.

So I’d like to introduce you to my Dad’s garden. It’s a large garden split into two distinct areas – Above The Fence and Below The Fence.

Then there’s Below The Fence. What can I say (except beware, for here be dragons). This area of the garden used to be Dad’s domain. A forester throughout his working life, Dad began growing some Christmas trees here as a hobby. However, since his head injury in 2008 it has been increasingly neglected. Ivy, moss, weeds and saplings have been happily seeding themselves and growing wherever they fancy.

So there is plenty to do. I’ve already made a start with weeding and feeding the soil and have begun to plant out some vegetables, emboldened by my success with the salad last summer.

I’m very much a novice gardener and learn as much by trial and error as anything else (much trial, lots of error). But the garden is already working its magic – helping me to switch off, toning up a few muscles, getting me into the fresh air.

So over the coming months I’ll be sharing more photos, stories and videos from my garden and encouraging a few of you to get planting too, whether it’s in an outdoor vegetable patch, a small patio or a few pots in the house.

I can’t recommend it highly enough.