Thursday, 24 April 2014

Inspiration

Posted by Rosie

Things are plodding along very nicely in the veg patch - seeds are germinating, plants are growing, potatoes are planted. All as it should be for the time of year and so really there is nothing particularly exciting to write about or photograph.  For that reason I thought I would diverge a bit on this week's How Does Your Garden Grow post and write about who inspired me to get gardening.  That after all is the bedrock of how my garden now grows!

The first person to inspire me to get in to gardening was my grandfather's gardener, Harry.  I remember as a very young child following him around as he tended the garden.  He seemed very old to me and I think he probably was.  My grandfather died when I was 5 and Harry died not long after.  I have no photos of him and to be honest I am not even 100% sure he was called Harry but I can still see him, very much like the gardener in this painting, pushing his heavy wooden wheelbarrow around and showing me things he was doing.  I'll never know if he enjoyed having me follow him or was too polite to tell his employer's granddaughter to go away but I do remember being fascinated with the work he did.

The Old Gardener by Herkomer

A few years after he died I was nosing around in the old potting shed and found a box of vegetable seeds.  We now lived on my grandfather's farm so I assume these would have been left by Harry.  They were however nothing like the colourful packets we see today, just simple brown packets with the name of the vegetable on the front.  No planting instructions, no foil packets.  Just seeds in brown packets.  At that time a local greengrocer sold seeds loose and simply filled a paper bag with the allotted amount and wrote the name of the vegetable on the packet.  I also found an old boxed set of 3 gardening books with one whole book given over to growing vegetables.  I asked Dad if I could have a patch of ground to try and grow some of the seeds and thus began a lifetime of growing vegetables.

The second person to inspire me was an unknown present-giver.  An aunt maybe, I don't recollect.  Who-ever it was however, didn't know my sister and me very well as I received a recorder and she a trowel and fork set.  We swapped.  Today she is the music teacher and among other things, I grow vegetables to feed our family!

Geoff Hamilton
My final inspiration came from the TV gardener, Geoff Hamilton.  Geoff presented Gardener's World for many years and when-ever I watched him what he said made sense.  He made me feel that anything he could do, so could I.  Nothing about gardening was really too complicated and everyone could grow veg and flowers easily.  I always felt that Geoff was a gardener first and a TV presenter second.  I felt what you saw on the TV with his quiet voice was just the same as the man you would have met in real life but sadly I never got to meet him.  Simon and I were at The Gardener's World Show in 1996 and Geoff was giving a lecture in one of the halls.  It was glorious weather though and we decided to carry on outdoors, saving a lecture from Geoff for another year when perhaps the weather was less kind.  Geoff died later that year.  Generally I do not mourn the death of people I don't actually know but when watching a programme on his life later that year I will admit to having tears in my eyes.

To Harry, to the unremembered present-giver who got things wrong and to Geoff Hamilton I say this.  I may always have been some-one who would grow vegetables but I know that you 3 gave me that extra bit of inspiration and each played a part in making me the gardener that I am today.  To you all I say thank you.

Did anyone or anything inspire you to get into gardening or was it something completely different?  Please do let us know.  Or  maybe you need some garden inspiration from some other bloggers in which case do head over to the Annie's How Does Your Garden Grow linky.  There's sure to be some there!

Mammasaurus and How Does Your Garden Grow?

21 comments :

  1. A lovely tribute post. I'd say it would be my mum who has taught me the most about gardening , though she's tried for years with no success to interest me until this last year, so maybe it was just wanting to involve the kids and enjoying reading blogs about it that gave me the final push!

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    1. Your Mum set the seed and your children are the sunshine and water that now make it grow!

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  2. What a lovely post! It's the kitchen that inspires us with regard to the vegetable patch. We really do aspire to become as self sufficient as we possibly can wih regard to veg. As for the flowers, my dad always inspired me. When I grew up we always had beautiful garens x #HDYGG

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    1. Thank you Kirsty - we could be self sufficient in veg if only I could grow better onions. I reckon we are over 90% there!

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  3. A beautiful post. I think my grandad(s) both inspired my to garden. My dads dad loved his allotment and my mums dad who is still alive is still passionate about his garden.

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    1. My grandfather loved his garden but he loved some-one else doing the work!!

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  4. I love this story. I have no idea what gave me the nudge to start gardening. Maybe it was seeing my husbands neglected garden when I moved in with him and enjoying the feeling of being outdoors. I have an inkling that I enjoyed having something to enjoy with my in-laws and the desire to start nesting and starting a family.

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    1. Love the way different people are inspired in different ways to the same end!

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  5. how sweet! i would say my biggest garden inspirations have been my mother in law in west virginia and my neighbor :)

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  6. My mother loves to plant. We dont even have a garden just soil on old cans. She grows medicinal plants. Health services is not free in my country and poor people like us a lot of times depends on natural meds, plants. She would give hers away to sick neighbors. She still do till now. Even if sometimes it meant that the plants will die cuz shes giving away too much she still gives them away (mostly the leaves). Her favorite tho is rosal (which is a white rose with great smell). I wish I can grow rosal here cuz its reminds me of her but I cant find any seeds of it. Must be a tropical flower. #HDYGG

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    1. I use some plants medicinally and plan to find out more on this subject. Rosal sounds lovely.

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  7. A lovely post. My grandpa was my first inspiration, he'd spend hours in his potting shed and his garden was always full of lovely roses and lavender. My mum was and my dad still is a keen garden, it's just second nature for me to love gardening, I can't imagine not having a garden to potter around in. #hdygg

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    1. Ever since that first veg patch I have always had a garden and often an allotment too.

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  8. I love this post so much, it's really interesting at just how much we remember gardens in our childhoods. I recall more about gardens than I do about my infant / junior school years. Maybe it's a smell and sight thing, sensory stuff.

    I especially love how your sister and you swapped and then ended up pursuing that love in later life!

    For me, inspiration has come from my mother her mother in early years and form Grandad lately, just the dedication and hard work that goes into their gardens and the obvious joy they get from it x

    Thank you for joining in - I've loved this different style of post - really heartfelt x

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    1. Thank you Annie - I hoped people would like a different angle on things. Next week back to Garden Updates!

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  9. Awwww what lovely Memories :)... My nana is my Inspiration she would spend hours pruning her Roses and Fushsias! #HDYGG

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    1. Well done your nana for inspiring Leanne :)

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  10. what a lovely post… I'm not sure who sparked my interest in gardening, though I do vividly remember huge swathes of bedding plants planted by my parents when I was little. I am an avid watcher of gardener's world now, and I do love Carol Klein! x

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    1. I must confess I have not watched Gardener's World for years ... But I often listen to Gardener's Question Time on Radio 4, when I am ironing the gite bedding! It makes the job go so much quicker!

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  11. I really enjoyed this post, it's so lovely to hear what has inspired people to do what they do. I bet Harry loved showing you what he was up to in the garden, it can get very lonely sometimes.

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