My simple message to the gardeners of the world
- Credit: PA
Today is a good day to rediscover the simple pleasure of gardening, says Sharon Griffiths.
Don't know a buttercup from a begonia? It doesn't matter a jot. Let's all blossom this bank holiday. Gardening is good for you – and it's good for the rest of us too.
And sometimes it's the smallest, unexpected plot that's the biggest pleasure.
Today could be a great day for visiting the great gardens – maybe Sandringham, Houghton, Blickling. Or open village gardens such as Dersingham, Topcroft and Palgrave.
Given decent weather, they would all be a treat. Sunshine and shade, the scent of lilac and new-mown grass, the wonderful colours in deep beds or the special magic that's a walled garden with espaliered fruit and walls that hold the late spring warmth.
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These are gardens as architecture – full of stately views, of borders, beds and shrubberies and lawns and avenues. They take a team of gardeners to keep up too. But are still wonderful for the rest of us peasants to gawp at and enjoy and imagine…
The village open gardens are awe-inspiring but a bit more accessible, more likely to give us ideas for our own more humble plots.
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Gardening is essentially an optimistic pastime. Pushing a tiny seed into a pot of compost is showing fine faith in the future. Planting bulbs on a dreary autumn day with cold wet fingers and soggy knees is bearable only because we can envisage the splash of colours in the spring. (If the mice haven't eaten the bulbs…)
Gardens still have the power to delight even the most hardened souls.
Which is why – as well as those splendid gardens that we willingly pay money to see – we must treasure the gardens we pass every day.
Gardeners do the work and the rest of us reap the pleasure – walking through the village or along suburban estates we catch sight of glorious front gardens, small and large, plants tumbling over fences and walls – all those roses, wisteria, clematis. They're for all of us to look at for free.
City terraces full of window boxes or pots of geraniums bordering basement steps are there to be shared with strangers.
They gardeners have put on a free show for the rest of us.
It's something the English (and Welsh) are particularly good at – as are the Dutch, who can plants gardens in the most unlikely places- on roof tops, tiny balconies, multi-storey ledges and even boat decks. Give them a few square inches and they'll put a plant pot on it. And we all reap the benefit.
The good news is that gardening is apparently gaining ground among twentysomethings who have even been known to visit garden centres as they realise that in an increasingly stressful world, gardening is good for the soul.
So to all those gardeners whose plots and plants cheer up the rest of us in passing - you've made the world a nicer place.