Best intentions as I sit here on this quiet January morning, its been a hell of a year and I, like everyone else for the most part have often felt like I’m drowning not waving. However there have been many excellent moments throughout 2020, it would be unfair to say it was a complete waste of a year.
I did however make a conscious decision to stop writing back in August, I was beating myself up for not having the emotional resources or time to continue to do my best work. What I had written felt forced and rushed and it wasn’t fair on the subjects I had written about. So they sat in my drafts folder looking at me mournfully and judging me silently every time I opened up my browser.
I was spreading myself thinly and this in no way is meant as a knock at anyone but my priorities for my time had changed. I would normally spend my evenings researching, writing snippets, mulling over ideas, sorting photos etc. Basic admin work I guess but this last year everything changed. I know spent far more time on the phone talking to dad, then scruffy turned up. Ok he was only here for 2 weeks but it seemed longer and when he left I grieved. Then Phil, my absolute rock, got ill. I was distraught. The diagnosis and treatment seemed to take forever. Thankfully he is now ok but it was so distressing watching him go downhill for that time.
Just as I felt like I was starting to get a handle on life again I had a total bomb dropped in my lap, it was a good bomb but a bomb nonetheless and I’m still getting my head round it now. My Birth Grandmother had managed to track me down. With this knowledge I gained an Aunt, the possibility of seeing/speaking to my Birth Mother and finding out all about the maternal side of my Birth family. Talk about mind blown!
Alongside all of this in early July I had been tossing round this idea of how the gardening community could continue to watch speakers, talk to other gardeners face to face and feel like they were still engaged in some way with the wide world. I’d never used zoom before but it seemed like everyone was suddenly talking about it. I’d watched a few talks online to get my head round how it worked. I’d been listening to several podcasts who were having their hosting costs supported by Patreon. A plan was formulating in my head!
We could pay speakers for their time, pay the hosting and recording costs in almost the same way as a garden club, via a small monthly subscription and voila! The Adventures in Horticulture Garden Club was born… I fully admit I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and honestly I’m still learning now! It seems to be popular though so I have continued recruiting speakers for 2021.
So that was last year, I think I achieved just six garden visits in total
- Chelsea Physic Garden – Feb 2020
- Belvoir Castle and Easton walled Garden – Feb 2020
- The Garden House
- The Newt & Charles Dowding – September 2020
- Chenies Manor – September 2020
- Leonardslee Gardens – November 2020
In fairness that’s probably more than some people achieved but for me its far less than I had planned!
So what about 2021? Like yourselves I just dont know at this moment, it feels very much like the ground is still shifting under my feet. It would be ridiculous to expect everything to return to how things were at the stroke of midnight, and perhaps they never will…. but perhaps we as gardeners can lead the change in how we view our outside spaces!
Perhaps we can embrace this new flush of intrepid garden explorers that 2020 brought out to join us. As Head Gardeners can we find ways to welcome them into our beautiful spaces? With picnic areas in our meadows, scented rose arbours to rest in shaded from the heat of the summer sun? Can we create better ways of entertaining bouncy children, educating them about wildlife and nature in ways that don’t include sitting in classrooms or looking at dead things in glass cases? Can we as an industry embrace this revolution and the new people its brought to us by turning our gardens not just into beautiful spaces to be enjoyed by everyone but also into classrooms, to give people the skills to create their own havens no matter how big or small?
Perhaps this will be my hobby horse of 2021?
We are incredibly lucky to have these wonderful spaces to live and work in and to have been able to have continued to do so throughout 2020, for the sake of everyone and the future of these beautiful spaces we need to get more inventive about how we use them…. anyway….. i have ideas bubbling around in my tiny head and much like the start of July they are not fully formed yet but I believe we can make something amazing grow out of the dumpster fire that’s 2020.
Onwards and upwards!!
For an updated list of Patreon Adventures in Horticulture Speakers Please visit “Adventures in Horticulture”