By Mark Darlington
It seems strange to sit and be typing about gardening being good for my mental health after sitting here for so long not actually doing any. I’ve done the odd little bit of tidying here and there and that’s been it, but as I stare out of my window I can already feel the cogs in the back of my head slowly turning in preparation for next year.
There’s a few things that have come to the end if their lives but have given do much joy this year. They’ll go into the compost bin and eventually back into the pots to help feed the next generation of colourful superstars.
So what thoughts are going through my head at the moment? What do I want to grow next year, flower and produce wise. Do I want to change things around a bit? Do I want more pots in the bottom half of the garden, and if so is it worth the earache from my youngest for encroaching onto his football pitch? Am I going all out for flowers and less produce? Will I ever get around to fixing the batons to the wall for my hanging pots for the herb wall I’ve wanted for the last couple of years?
All good questions and I’m happy that my current apathy seems to just be a temporary thing.
I’m getting quite excited about the planning of it all.
Going through my seeds and seeing what I need for next year. Looking at the seeds I’ve collected and hoping they’ll germinate well in the spring.
Deciding that I may cut down on food crops and concentrate more on flowers. With limited space I’m determined to just concentrate on growing food that we will definitely eat and I can plant flowers around. We love salads so that will probably be the way to go next year and with that and wanting to plant flowers in the same beds maybe it’s time to sow more seeds for edible flowers which is a definite win win situation.
My garden has done more for my mental health over the years than anything else apart from music that I can think of and I can’t put my finger on why I go through these times where I don’t want to be out there.
I do think occasionally we put too much pressure on ourselves when it comes to our gardening.
We see perfect pictures of others gardens and allotments and think, why isn’t mine like that, why can’t I achieve that. It’s because we are all different. You should garden the way that makes you happy. I’m in awe of some of the plots and gardens I see on twitter but I know how much work is put into them, but wether you have a small window box, acres of land or a postage stamp sized garden just remember, enjoy it. There is nothing better than getting a bit of dirt on your hands and just being out there. It gives you such a lift.
You may love the whole process of sowing your own seeds then the joy of planting out something you’ve grown yourself. You may prefer to buy ready made plants. Whichever way makes you happy, that’s special to you and don’t lose sight of that.
No blog of mine would be complete without a mention of music. I’ve listened to and lived music for as long as i can remember. Growing up there was always 60’s, Motown, ELO, Billy Joel and Simply Red and many others in the house.
It took me a while to find my music and in my teens and early 20’s I was very genre led.
I’ve found as I’ve got older to really appreciate more music and especially the last few years if I like it I like it, irrespective of the genre.
I’m listening to music more than I ever have at the moment and that is saying something but music is such a personal thing. No I’m not the only person that has heard a song that I’m listening to but at any particular moment when I’ve put something on I really want to listen to, it’s me and the artist.
Music and my mental health go hand in hand. If I’m down there is something to pick me up or just let me contemplate. If I’m up there’s something there for that. No matter the mood there is always something to listen to, but more often than not I just listen for the joy of the sounds that appear in my ears, and for that I’ll be forever grateful.