Similar to the relationship I have with cooking (see my article on how/why I cook) my enthusiasm for gardening stems from my nostalgia and childhood connection to my mum and granddad’s large and productive gardens. I have many memories of time out in the garden as I was growing up with my mum, working in the flower beds or tending the vegetables and a couple of fruit trees that we had. It built a connection in my mind with the experience of quality time, relaxation and a feeling of satisfaction from seeing an area of the garden transformed as it was planted or pruned or cleared of weeds.
As with all areas of my life, due to the significant limitations of my disability I have never been a hands-on gardener, but that does not mean I haven’t learned a few basics along the way through observation and active enquiry. In the years that I have lived away from home on my own property, I have been able to enjoy the transformation of my own garden with the support of my parents’ green thumbs and the help of my support staff.
There is something very special about the experience of watching a plant grow from a seedling into maturity and seeing it develop a crop of flowers or produce that I can enjoy. I especially like the productive areas of my garden, such as my fruit trees, herb garden and vegetable garden. These areas always impress me with how much they can provide and it allows me to share the extra produce with neighbours, family and others in the community. Going out to look for people to share my extra garden produce with has helped me connect with other people in my local community. It often surprises them to be offered free fresh fruits and vegetables but I love seeing the smiles when I introduce myself and explain that I am giving away extras from my garden. Being able to not only provide fresh and spray-free produce for my own household but to also contribute to other households gives me a very positive feeling, as I enjoy being able to help in some small way.
It doesn’t take much knowledge or much space to be able to experience growing your own fresh fruit, vegetables or herbs. I am by no means an expert, but I have learned from those with more knowledge and I make use of the countless resources available online which provide information on all sorts of areas related to gardening. Below are some links to resources for beginners.