From an early age, our parents teach us the value of sharing. Our gardens remind us to continue the act of sharing each and every day, sometimes even without us knowing it.
My Grandma loved her garden and always made sure there was room for both flowers and vegetables. Every time we went to visit her during the holidays, however, she would always give up an area of her garden and let my brother and I create whatever we wanted, whether it was a tiny fruit garden when we moved some of her strawberry plants to our little plot or experimented, making the smallest of ponds and stone walls. By sharing her garden with us, she also shared her love for gardening, which even to this day both my brother and I find time in our lives to continue with the much loved gardening tradition.
More recently I heard of a family who share their garden with a friend who lives in an apartment. This family had such a big area of land, they let their friend make a little vegetable patch of her very own. What a wonderful idea! This got me thinking and I set myself a challenge to think of the different ways in which sharing takes place in the world of gardening.
The main one I could think of is the sharing of information and advice. As someone who loves to be outside in the garden, I can often find myself sharing tips with family and friends of things I have learnt along the way. I believe that a trait of being a good gardener is that one not only shares advice but also that one receives it too.
Just as a sharing side note: gardening holds such a wealth of information as well as many people each having their own differing opinions, that it can all become overwhelming. This is perhaps unfortunately something that can prevent some of the non-gardening population from having a go in the garden. But my advice to you if you are one of those nervous starters is to simply take that first step and take one step at a time!
Have fun! That really is the joy in gardening. Use guidelines from reputable sources to help steer you in the right direction but remember there is nothing to say that what a family member taught you isn’t just as valuable.
Another way we share between each other in gardening, is by giving away our gifts from the garden. Many a time we have had a glut of runner beans, tomatoes, courgettes and pumpkins and so our friends have been the happy receivers of our home grown produce. These are not however, the only things as gardeners we can share. Donating and sharing your time to help an elderly member of your family or a neighbour in their gardens, is definitely time well spent!
Gardeners are not the only ones to share in the garden. Plants are very generous when it comes to sharing. Not only do they have to share their soil beds with fellow plants but these resourceful organisms take the carbon dioxide out of the air and turn it into oxygen, essential for humans and other animals to survive. Even at the end of the flowering season, plants continue to share. This is of course after having had a little help from their friends, the bees, who in turn have shared their time and aided in the process of pollination and the development of seeds.
Seeds from flower heads can be gathered and used in your garden the following year or if you end up with too many, you can share them with other gardeners. Giant sunflower heads more often than not end up sharing their seeds with wildlife such as birds.
It is important to mention wildlife here as it as much their garden as it is ours. Even though there may be times when you want to pull your hair out as you’ve noticed another tiny little seedling lying above the soil in a sorry state, after an attack from a local crow, it should be remembered that it’s not their fault really, they are only doing what is in their instinctive nature. They don’t know the difference between your prized onion sets or food they need to survive. It’s essential for everyone, human and wildlife to find ways of working together and sharing the garden, to minimise the amount of hair loss. By sharing small areas of your garden, to create homes for your small garden residents, such as insect hotels, hedgehog homes, butterfly baths, you will be greatly rewarded in the long run. A lot of wildlife is essential to your garden to help with pest control. If you, like me, find that mosquitoes find you rather a tasty meal, you will be pleased to find out that birds think that mosquitoes are rather tasty too!
Wildlife are not the only living creatures you share your garden with, if you have the pleasure of sharing your home with a pet. Again it is finding a compromise with your pet as to which areas of the garden they can play in and roam, especially after a flower you have nurtured from a seed has had a stampede of paws over it. We have two dogs, both Bernese Mountain dogs (a large mountain dog breed) and one cat, so you can imagine especially in the puppy years, we have had a few plant fatalities.
Saying this however, it really is a pure joy to share the garden and see it from their point of view. Watching one of our cats go back to his family roots as he roamed through the long grass like a mini tiger was a pleasure to see. As indeed is relaxing and enjoying the tranquility with our dogs as they take an afternoon snooze in the dappled shade under the cherry tree. A moment to treasure in the fast paced world we all live in!
Can you think of any more sharing moments in the garden? If you do, please feel free to share (last time I use that word – promise!) your ideas in the comments below.