FUN

Gardening Is The New Raving (Not Really, But I Love It Anyway)

I hear Jarvis Cocker singing "My only parks were car parks, weed is something you smoke, birds are something you shag" in my ears as I play the fun game of 'needle or thorn?' while tidying my urban garden.
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Publish date:
August 22, 2013
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Tags:
flowers, gardening, gardeners world, monty don

On an average Friday night you probably won't find me dancing in one of Dalston's sweaty basement clubs or clinking cocktail glasses in a Mayfair hotel bar (although both of these things could happen... really!) Instead I'm usually curled up on the sofa enjoying Gardener’s World, or as Nigel the dog calls it on his Twitter feed, the #shoutyhalfhour. GW is for me the perfect mix of education and escapism, because I am an enthusiastic if clueless gardener.

I live in the east end of London and am lucky enough to have Victoria Park on my doorstep, which is vast and beautiful (when it's not crammed with tedious Lovebox/Field Day 'revellers’). But lovely though Vic Park is, it's not the same as having a plot of one's own. I have a small front garden which I tend lovingly, but most of sexy Monty Don's advice on GW doesn't cover the unique aspects of urban gardening, which often involves more litter-picking than planting.

I'd like to dead-head the scumbags who throw hundreds of cigarette butts into my flowerbeds from their balconies, believe me. Rather than the idyllic tones of 'an English country garden', I hear Jarvis Cocker singing "My only parks were car parks, weed is something you smoke, birds are something you shag" as I play the fun game of 'needle or thorn?' while tidying my garden.

Anyway, despite the challenges I face as an urban gardener, I do get immense satisfaction and pride from my little patch of green. I was an amazing thing to see the nasturtium seeds I planted actually germinate and flower! They're now covered in blackfly but I have been assured by experts (my mum) that this is a Good Thing. Apparently the humble nasturtium's lot in life is to attract nasty insects away from more luxurious blooms, and it's working - my rose bush is bug-free. Talk about taking one for the team.

Tending your own bit of earth - even if it's only a few pots on a balcony or windowsill - puts you in touch with the seasons, which in itself is a great de-stresser. Realising that the bulbs you plant in the autumn will emerge as cheeky narcissi or snowdrops or crocuses or whatever, regardless of how horrible your boss is or how many emails you have piling up in your inbox, can put things in perspective. It's nature, and it just does its thing - that's humbling and comforting to me.

My weak spot is watering - I'm rubbish at it, always forget, can't be bothered etc. luckily the likes of geraniums are remarkably forgiving of such blatant neglect and carry on stoically flowering and bringing their cheery charms to my window box.

Anyway, I do find gardening incredibly grounding, relaxing, rewarding, therapeutic - all those good things. But what makes you feel like that? It is cooking, painting, knitting? Tell me!