I sat down to update my website today and didn’t know where to start. Last year for me went by in a flash, but like many others, it has left me with a somewhat empty, sober feeling. But I know this will pass soon and all the hard work we have done over the last few months, our visions for future spaces, will start to pay massive dividends as the gardens start to grow and reveal their spring and summer roles, and draw us back outside to enjoy their beautiful, safe spaces.
I consider myself to be extremely fortunate in the career that I decided to pursue 10 years ago. After the shock of the first lockdown , I sat down at my desk contemplating a bleak future in terms of work, only to have my expectations turned on their head within days when the flood of enquiries started. And they have not stopped. To those people that I have not been able to provide a service for I am very sorry and I hope I have signposted you in the right directions and for those other clients who have taken me on and waited for work to be done – many thanks for your patience during these unpredictable months.
What I have to say to everyone however, is that anyone who took a second look at their outdoor space and realised the potential there, you will never look back! There has been much written about gardening and mindfulness, and even just the act of being outside is enough to bring us closer to nature and remind us of the important things in life. When things like this happen, we suddenly look with fresh eyes at everything. I can’t count the number of people who have told me they are looking again at their plants and gardens this year and starting to plan how to improve, enhance and learn about them. And also how to use them in a practical way as a space for outside activity and living – how many people do you know with a new firepit?
I think this is wonderful, regardless of how we all got here, but it is also a reflection on the lives we have been previously living where we have not allowed ourselves to take the time for these simple pleasures and activities. Or had the opportunity to. If you are fortunate enough to have an outdoor space it can be a catalyst for improving and enhancing your life too.
In my spare time this year I was at my allotment, which I am still re-developing. It took a few months to find a shed but once it was finally up I was able to have a bit of fun creating a green roof for it! It is a little project I have fancied doing for a while. You can’t see much of it from below, but it is such an interesting addition to my allotment I have loved creating it. I have planted lots of Thymes and Sedums up there, but the plan is to play around with the plants and see what I can get to thrive in that well-drained, exposed situation. Now it is sitting up there in the winter sun and sleet and I am just waiting for the spring to see how it has established. It is on it’s way and I am excited to see if I have succeeded!
What I have come to realise is that it is important to achieve things for yourself, however small, as these actions pay large dividends to your own happiness and contentment, which is currently being seriously challenged. As I walk around the frosty allotments this month and see the sun glinting off the frozen structures and the shadows casting virtual structures across the real ones I am struck by the sense of calm that I feel there. As I plant my Apple tree, and turn to see my Robin friend perching on the branches within seconds of it going into the ground, as I marvel at the colours of the branch structures of shrubs, usually hidden by foliage and as I sit and plan my planting schedule, I am filled with optimism, excitement and hope as I always am at this time of year, for the harvest of nature which will present itself to me from this small plot of land. That is one thing that has not changed, although much else has.
This is a time to re-connect with the outdoors, disconnect with some of the complexities of modern living, take in the simple messages that nature offers and teach ourselves how to be contented with those.
I am very much looking forward to creating new, beautiful spaces for my clients in the coming months and I know they will be cherished spaces which will bring value to their lives. I am lucky.