I’ve never been a big fan of gardening, most likely because I grew up during years of drought here in Australia and nothing really grew except Australia native, which while beautiful don’t require a lot of care once established. I also do not posses a green thumb, a cactus is the only plant I’ve kept alive so far, and I’ve killed one in the past.
I also could never see the point, and to be honest I thought riding my bike was a much better use of my time and considerably more exciting. Both my grandmother are big gardeners are so my time spent gardening was usually with Nanna or Grandma. I’ve wonderful memories of picking fresh Strawberries, tomatoes, and peas from my Grandmother’s Garden (she lives in England) and going into the green house. To this day I still love the smell of Truss tomatoes as this was what my Grandmothers greenhouse smelt like.
Gardening with my Nanna, who lives in Melbourne was just as fun, I enjoyed ‘popping’ fuchsia buds’ and picking fresh herbs for cooking. My memories of gardening with both set of grandparents are memories from childhood that remain untouched by my trauma. I decided to create my own mini herb garden, and to plant some Fuchsia in my garden. Now as I rent my options are limited and considering my complete lack of green thumb I decided to start small.
As a result I now have a beautiful fuchsia plant on my front porch. And the start of a herb garden in the back. I’ll admit to cheating and buying plants that all I had to do was place in pots as I figured this was easier and less likely to fail, after taking the advice of the very helpful garden staff at Bunnings. I believe I caused some considerable laughter when I requested herbs that are difficult to kill but easy to care for, though I did by a huge bowl of basil just because I loved the smell.
I found planting plants to be oddly meditative and soothing which I didn’t expect, as I expected to be stressed since I had no real idea of what I was doing, and the internet had confused me considerably in this regard. After a quick google search there are numerous articles on the health benefits of gardening, see here, here and here. Horticultural therapy is good for the soul and I’m very much enjoying tending to my little patch and watering it daily.
Here are some tips I learnt after starting my own little patch
- ASK FOR HELP. Sorry to yell but the staff at garden centres know their stuff, know the local area and are fountain of knowledge.
- Ask for recommendations of information sources. While this links into point 1 above, I found asking where to find information helps considerable narrow the pool and allows you to focus on the important bits. The staff at my local Bunnings recommended the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Growing Guide (available here) and The Little Veggie Patch Co. growing cards (see here ). The websites Burke’s Backyards and Better Homes and Gardens Australia are great as well.
- Don’t be afraid to ask (what you consider to be) dumb questions. While the internet can be a great source of information in so many ways I got confused reading conflicting advice, so I just asked for information, see the points above.
- Don’t be afraid to buy things aimed at kids. I brought 2 of the Little Growers Pot (a lemon balm herb and a tomato plant) aimed at kids figuring they would be idiot proof. I will let you know how this goes.
- Take it slow, and only plant herbs you will use, there is no point planting a herb that is easy to grow if you don’t use it frequently in cooking.
- Use Mulch; just trust me (and by me i Bunnings Experts) here
- Have fun. I split soil everywhere (good thing I was already outside) and felt like a moron but I promise once the plants are planted you will feed a great sense of accomplishment.
Love Lois xo
PS: I’m not getting a commission from any of the above recommendations, this is just what I’ve found helpful and hopefully it helps you as well.