Visit a garden: like taking a mini-break!

My first visit to Hill Close Gardens, a hidden treasure located in the heart of Warwick, came as a surprise.  How on earth could this be on my doorstep (literally) and I knew nothing about it?  These historic and beautiful gardens tended to by a team of hard-working and enthusiastic volunteers are a balm to the stress of everyday life and busy-ness. They are a quiet and calming space that takes you to another world and a different era.

Gardens and gardening are proving to be popular in many communities and for good reason.  They give us something back, provide us with a focus and help us to immerse ourselves in nature and to enjoy it at whatever level we choose. We can wander through the different areas at all times of the year in all weathers (yes, there is no such thing as bad weather just unsuitable clothing). There is always so much to learn – the name of a plant or flower, the sound of birdsong, viewing the seasons as they happen …

I am a keen (although very amateur) gardener with a very small garden close by, and grow tomatoes, courgettes (lots of them!), salad, beans, strawberries, apples and cherry.  I am very proud that throughout the summer months I can eat what I grow and savour the flavour of really fresh produce.  Gardening has changed the way I view food (not massively but enough) and made me much more aware of the importance of ‘fresh’ – I feel proud and a real sense of achievement when I can fill a plate with produce that I have grown myself?!

Gardening works on a completely different level too. When I feel wound up, tired or work-weary my garden helps me to wind down and focus away from whatever it is that is causing me stress.  The cycle of the garden can be seen throughout the year in its’ constantly changing and evolving colours and smells.  In the spring (compost time!) this year I asked my daughter to help me to lift my compost bin up to empty out the contents and spread on the beds. ‘Ugh – no way its disgusting!!! ‘ was the reply. Ok I say very gently – you don’t have to do anything just help me lift it over and I will empty it out…

Verdict – ‘oh my god mum that’s awesome – did those worms really make that soil??’ It’s all part of the circle of life – I replied smugly quoting a favourite Disney classic!!

What I do know is this. Gardens are for people to enjoy, be they big, small, on a balcony, pot or on a window ledge.  Something beautiful happens when people and plants are bought together. Spending quiet time sitting in a summer house or on a bench with a flask of something cool when its warm or warming when its cold is magic. Taking time to talk to volunteers and gardeners about the best way to grow tomatoes on a balcony or a cactus in the kitchen, it is therapy in a room with a sky for a ceiling and scented flowers for wallpaper!!