Today is a bit of a change from my usual blogs. As well as being about my experiences with mental illness and how gardening has helped me through difficult times, this blog is essentially about how much I love my garden, what it means to me and why it should be given the title of “Britain’s Most Beautiful Garden”, in a competition run by Just Landlords, https://www.justlandlords.co.uk/news/britains-most-beautiful-garden/
This blog is my entry and I’ve been asked to answer three questions;
- Why do you love being in your garden?
- What’s your favourite garden feature and why?
- Why do you think your garden deserves the title “Britain’s Most Beautiful Garden”?
Being in my garden
Well, who wouldn’t love being surrounded by tropical planting; having the feeling of being somewhere completely different, yet still at home, in my version of a British back garden. My garden was inspired by my Dad and his Mauritian heritage. It’s a welcome reminder of him (after his passing due to Cancer) and the family holidays we shared in Mauritius when I was growing up. Sitting here in the garden with the sun on my face, I could really believe I was back there.
It gives me a place to relax and be in the moment, whilst I watch the wildlife in my little urban oasis. From the birds in the bamboo, frogs and toads in the pond; to dragonflies, bees and butterflies, that gracefully dance from one brightly coloured flower, to the next.
It’s not only an extension of my home, but of myself as well, as I’ve found connecting and being creative within my garden, helpful in reducing stress, anxiety and negative thoughts and feelings. Gardening for me is a form of therapy and my garden is the one place I can practice this, without fear or judgement. It also gives me a platform to share my experiences of mental health, hopefully giving others the opportunity and confidence to speak out, share their own experiences and know they’re not alone.
You’re my favourite
How do you pick your favourite feature? To me, I imagine it’s like asking a parent to pick a favourite child, or in my case; the favourite of my two cats. I love everything about my garden; each part brings its own special something to the space. The large foliage of the Banana plants make it into my top two, as these iconic leaves give the garden most of its jungle feel and instantly transports you to a tropical land.
But then there’s the pond; only small and barely seen at first glance, yet with its reflective qualities showing the garden in its mirror image; intangible as you gaze into it, reflecting on life’s moments. It brings a sense of calm to the garden with its trickling fountain, subtly dampening the unwanted sounds of the outside world. It’s often the first place I’m drawn to when out in the garden, seeing what’s new, recently finding tiny goldfish and the more I look, the more I find. It also gives hours of entertainment for my cats, who also enjoy watching the fish. It creates a new space to experiment with water loving plants, which in turn helps to bring new life to the garden.
So I’ve managed to pick my favourite feature; a small water feature, that brings huge benefits to the whole garden.
“Britain’s Most Beautiful Garden?”
To me my garden already has this title. So why even enter you say… Well, I love my garden and have a passion for growing plants, so would like to share it and help inspire others, so they too can create their own space to grow.
But this is not about me, it’s about my garden and it really does speak for itself; from the due droplets on the tips of the tree ferns, glistening in the morning light, like tiny jewels; to the passion flower making its way through the planting, clinging on with its tendrils, feeling its way along, as many of us do though life; this is a garden that has a surprise in every season and it fills my heart to see the garden awakening in spring and amazes me every time, how all this comes from almost nothing!
At this time of year the garden is at its fullest, bursting, almost untamed; with foliage and late flowering plants, using every last bit of energy in a beautiful display, before taking its final bow. Both the garden and I hold on to each warm day and the last rays of sunshine, knowing that soon, we will be bracing ourselves for winter, followed by a new season springing into life. This garden deserves the title: “Britain’s Most Beautiful Garden”, as it may only be small, but has an abundance of character and has given so much back to its owners, who seek refuge in this beautiful space.
Win or lose, I’ve been given the opportunity to revisit the love and passion I have for my garden and share this as a great topic for my blog.