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It might seem glamorous travelling round the country, trying to make a name for yourself. I want to share my gardening passion with the masses and the best way to do that is to go to event.
It’s not just about talking to stands and making relationships with the people who sell the products you use and rely on, but it’s also about meeting the general public.
I find it hard to go to events as I’m always on my own. I may or may not meet people there that I know and when you don’t meet anyone, it can be quite lonely. However, after a couple of hours of walking around in the sublime September heat, I start to get a scope of the layout and gain a little confidence of my surroundings. I find products I like, take pictures, and see if anyone is eager to tell me about what they have. I prefer supporting small businesses and independent nurseries at events like this. It’s a great way to get chatting about what they are selling and get a bit more background history about the people who sell them. I’d much rather buy from someone I know than someone I don’t.
I find events like this [BBC Gardeners World Live at Audley End] are perfect to get talking to suppliers and charities you support too. Two organisations I caught up with today were ‘Garden Organic’ and ‘The National Allotment Society’. I support both and forced myself to strike up the confidence to go and talk to them an introduce myself.
I suffer with quite severe mental health and pain issues, so the reason I was particularly proud of this was because it was the best thing I did all day. The feeling of connecting with those who share your same passion in horticulture is a feeling you can’t buy or fake.
I have had a bit of an emotional time this year going into gardening media, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’ve been looking for my place in the world generally, and I think I have found my purpose in life. It’s not about making my face known, but about connecting with those who share the same passion, driven and values. Let’s face it; my last five years have been an emotional
Values are important to me as a person. They have been driven into me though relentless years of pain management therapy and help me keep my life in control in the direction I am aiming for. I remember my first ever pain management session where I was asked to decide my values and even back then, what came after my family, came gardening and my allotment.
Four allotments later, with three I still have, it’s still one of my values. Now you’d probably wonder why they’re so high up on my list after everything terrible that has happened, in regards to sexual assault, but the good far outweighs the bad.
Shows are nerve wracking events for sure. I remember physically shaking as I walked towards the press entrance for Chelsea, convinced that they had made a mistake (imposter syndrome was taking over), but I had one of the best experiences of my life and it actually ended up pathing the way for my future initially.
If you’re thinking about taking a horticulture course of any type, just do it. Don’t think about it. I couldn’t think of a better industry to be in. The people and the plants are fantastic. The shows are great, even if you go on your own. Be yourself wholly and just go for your dream!