E+E Column: The Purpose of Growing

A new season of green fingeredness is almost upon us and as I start to make plans for this years gardening, I’ve been pondering a few things. I’ve always had a bit of a utilitarian approach to gardening and with the exception of sunflowers and sweetpeas (they smell so good and are just so prolific), have grown only things that are edilble. I’ve just never seen the point in growing flowers so for the last half a dozen years have stuck quite rigidly to fruit and veg. Growing food for our kitchen satisfies both my pocket and desire to garden, plus it has the added benefit of teaching the children a whole host of valuable lessons about where our food comes from and the natural world. I’ve often wondered why you’d put so much effort and time into a garden that has no use other than to look nice. However, having said that, I do love tulips and daffodils and their promise of warmer and brighter days, so it was on a bit of a whim back in October that the kids and I chose some bulbs and a few weeks later, Isaac helped me plant them in our front garden. Now, as they are shooting up from the cold(ish), weed infested soil, I’m starting to see the merit in this more ornamental side of gardening. I’m excited about watching them, waiting for them to flower. I can’t remember what was planted where and am looking forward to seeing the formation of different coloured tulips and traditional yellow daffodils that Isaac buried randomly all those weeks ago. Although I’ve always known that the joy of gardening isn’t just in the end result, I’ve started to realise it even more this year. So what if we can’t eat them once they arrive? They’ll still brighten the pathway to our door and (hopefully) bring cheer to those that see them. So as I start to include the children in my planning for our little garden in the next few weeks, I’m going to be more open to their suggestions of what they’d like to see in our various pots and baskets. I want to fully embrace every stage of the growing season this year. From choosing what to grow and buying seeds, to mixing compost with old soil to revive it, sprouting seeds and then each and every stage of growth that follows. There is joy and wisdom to be found in each step. This year I’m going to be laid back, I’m going to be patient and I’m going to be flexible. The purpose of growing? I think it is simply to enjoy the process.

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