When I started lockdown you could say I was a reluctant gardener. If I’m honest I associated it with hard physical work (that’s probably because I always left the gardening til it was a big job) and not with pleasure. However, over the years I had managed to turn my garden into a nice space – and having listened to what I needed to plant and grow in order to attract bees and butterflies, it was somewhere I recognised I could go to, to relax and unwind.

I’ve never grown any vegetables or herbs, but I bought some seeds in Wilkinson’s a few days before
lockdown started, so I planted rocket, leeks, coriander, beans, mainly in pots in a sunny spot on my patio. Slowly but surely little green shoots started to emerge. It was genuinely exciting! Someone gave me some seed potatoes so I put them in a small spot at the bottom of my garden and low-and-behold they also started growing. I’m a city-dweller, born and bred, so this was a bit like magic to me! When I first chopped some coriander and put it on the top of a curry I’d cooked, I felt like Barbara in The Good Life!

I’ve thought about why this has given me such a sense of wellbeing and I think it’s linked to feeling self-sufficient and therefore somehow ‘in control’ – at a time when none of us really feel in control. There may be a whole world of worry and confusion out there, but I can grow beans, so I’m doing alright! And I also feel accomplished and skilful, which is always a good way to feel.

So now the reluctant gardener is always out in the garden, staring at the rocket to see if it’s got any bigger (it hasn’t…), building a raised bed for the cauliflower seeds and yes, even making sure that the weeding gets done. The result is more birds, bees and butterflies than ever before and one very content – and enthusiastic gardener.

Wonder if I have the room for a couple of pigs…