A few weeks ago I visited a fantastic charity which uses gardening to change the lives of disabled people. Thrive looks after gardens in Battersea park and relies on an army of volunteers to carry out its work.
I was reading their brochure again this morning, when a couple of paragraphs by gardener Monty Don stood out and made me stop and think. I’m not sure why, but they just did…
“For the first fifteen years or so of my life
I hated gardening. I was brought up in a
large family with a sprawling garden and
my parents not unreasonably saw their
five children as a useful workforce in the
perpetual struggle of keeping it under
control and producing all our vegetables.
Most days we would be handed out
tasks that, with hindsight, were not at
all unreasonable. The lawn had to be
mown, the strawberries weeded, parsnips
thinned or perhaps the potatoes earthed
up. At the time I did them all slowly and
unwillingly and certainly without a glimmer
of pleasure. But I spent a long time in the
garden and, despite myself, learnt how to
do many basic horticultural tasks. I learnt
“Then, when I was about 17, I was
sowing carrots after school on a mild,
midgy March evening. The sun was
setting behind the beech tree and the air
was full of the soft, folding calls of wood
pigeons going to roost. I suddenly had a
powerful sense of absolute contentment.
The earth felt perfectly smooth to my
fingers, the seed absolutely in the right
place in my cupped hand. I knew just what
to do and exactly how to do it. I knew that
this was a measure of happiness that I
would always be able to refer to.
That feeling has never really gone away.
There are days when you are glad to have
finished a certain job or when you long
for spring, but the garden and gardening
itself has never failed to be a source of
inspiration and comfort for me.”
Please have a look at the work that Thrive are doing, and if you can see a connection with your own world, I know that they would love to hear from you.