Category Archives: Garden Grow

Awakenings

So, I have realised today, that it’s about time I started digging again. Digging properly, digging for me, and for the sake of future flowers/food.

I also need to begin writing again. Writing properly. Writing for me, and for any others who are interested, or happen to relate to any of the issues I find myself blogging about, over the months.

Months, in the past tense, being felt by their very own- memory hoarding piece of Neurological equipment, if you like- as though having passed, in the way of being ‘lost at sea’, and totally at the mercy of the waves.

See when I try to remember, in any kind of meaningful, contingent or chronological manner, the streetlight like glow, of the traumatic events which turned last year into a living nightmare for me, it isn’t exactly a straightforward process.

Perhaps with more time (admittedly, time truly can prove to be a fairly decent Nurse), those memories will begin to feel less raw. Then, perhaps, they could manage to form some kind of structure. Such as a pattern of rocks, washed up on a beach.

Until then, it would appear, my life and the words which seem to need writing, will have to crack on. In a positive, and productive way. So, let’s begin with the latest Dig for Victory style project!

Over March, and now that the so called ‘beast from the east’ and other snow related weather events, are seemingly hushed for now, I intend to try my luck at creating as much ‘garden’ and growing space, as possible, using only a very limited space, which is technically just a balcony.

I will have to think of inventive ways, to build what should look, feel, and hopefully, function as, a small garden, upon something which feels more like a windowsill, than an allotment, let’s face it.

Watch this space, I therefore add!

For there will be pictures of an on-going process, which hopefully can succeed, in turning a canvas of predominantly, grey emptiness, into a vibrant and green honey bee’s playground (sorry neighbours… Bees were here first, and the honey they make is well worth having to see more of them ‘buzzing around’).


 

 

 

 

Chapter anew: I shall reclaim the plant pots!

Watering cans. I am going to need watering cans, and LOTS OF THEM! But first, it will probably make sense to reclaim the plant pots!

oak bonsais are a'happening april 2014 - Copy

 

I have just left a kind of prison. I was never arrested, charged, tried or convicted. Yet still, for three months of my life, I lived, ‘imprisoned’. While I write this, I even ask myself: Do I mean this metaphorically? Initially, yes, I did. Then I reflect, on how I have lived, for      those three small months.

Those months should have felt small, and they were (or will be) ‘small’, in the long run. In years to come, they will shrink down in significance, and the ‘footprint’ left by their boot, will be scaled into something similar to insignificance, by the great, green, giant months, which I will plant, and bring into full bloom, starting from today.

The day I moved out of that ‘homeless person’s temporary, interim accommodation’. A tower block, stretched like a club, into the sky. Not like the intricate, webbed branches of Trees, which seem to sing into the sky. No, the Tower Block pounds into the horizon like a ‘Thud’. The life within mine was stale.

Try comparing that to the life of an old Oak! Those Acorns are only part of the reason, that the Oak Tree harbours life, so much the opposite of stale. Try asking a Squirrel: “Oh, Squirrel, sir? Erm, I was wondering, who are you going to be feeding that nut to?”. To be frank, you might actually get more of an answer out of the Squirrel in your mind’s eye now, than you would get for an answer attempted by those empty, personless walls, around you in a Tower Block flat, or ‘holding cell’, while you wait to be rescued by the chance of a new home.

So no, I don’t mean ‘prison’,  in the sense that I was literally behind bars. There is a darker, sadder, story behind my ending up in such a desperate place, though. I was a victim, yet in the (endless) months which followed the attack, I felt as though I were the one, being punished. Playing ‘prisoner’, while I await that trial, while I wait for the day some Crown Court Judge can somehow ‘lift’, from my shoulders, spirit and heart, that weight, the crushing weight, of dark cloud looming.

Enough. 

I am now free of the Tower Block ’emergency accommodation’. Now, I have a space, where I can begin to sleep again, live again, sing again, dance again, work again…

But most of all, now I have a place where I can GARDEN AGAIN!
pexels-photo-296230.jpeg

We should all by now, know what this means! TIME…

TO DIG FOR VICTORY!

 


DIG FOR VICTORY

Put your hands back in the Earth

If you want to re-connect with your roots, re-acquaint yourself with nature, and generally remind yourself about what it means to live, to be human (and therefore crafty, inquisitive, ambitious), then I strongly recommend you take some time to just have a little dig.

Uproot some Dandelions, or a bit of your lawn. Expose the soil, and take in the roots. Stick your hand into the soil, gather some of it in your hands. Give it a squeeze, and crumble it between your fingers, allowing it to gently sprinkle back down into the ground.

Take in the smell of the Earth, the texture, the colour, the weight. It’s almost like feeling Earth’s pulse. Nurse the Earth, and in turn you will find, it nurses you right back.

image

Upturned soil reveals:

Rooted beneath the Earth’s ‘skin’, are the fibrous, nerve like ‘wirings’, which give rise to the flowers we see, sprouting deliciously, above the surface.
They are remarkably similar to the Synapses, which are our human brain’s own ‘system of shoots & roots’, if you like.
These fire and receive the neurotransmitters, which power our emotions, thoughts, memories, actions and reactions. You can certainly liken the roots under our own skull, to the ‘flowers’, of thought and of volition.

We are the Earth.


 

Garden for your thoughts…

My allotment as a symptom of a mind grown too wild:

 

Currently, if the state of my allotment and garden were recognised by the medical profession, as being acceptable diagnostic tools for determining state of mind, and a certified means of determining a ‘healthy psychological bill of health’, then i’d make easy work for any kind of Psychiatrist, I imagine.

Over the past six months, there have been many different events, stresses, overgrown and domineering thoughts, which have accumulated without due intervention and control, in my mind, wrecked havoc on my mental health, and my ability to ‘see’ or ‘think’ clearly. I’m thankfully beginning to make progress, towards the goal of recovery in mental, and physical health, now.

Part of this journey towards recovering, has included suddenly being able to notice, and reflect on things again. This is both good and bad- it’s reassuring and hopeful to realise I must be moving away from a negative place, because I can suddenly see quite clearly, the areas of my life and the passions enjoyed through living, which have suffered neglect.

It’s daunting, to be able to look at the overgrowth, the ‘jungle’ left to grow wild, and the flower beds without flowers, which currently shape the canvas of my allotment.  Yet at the same time, it is exciting and positive, when taking into account the ‘bigger picture’ this paints. The garden endeavors.

Hinting at the prospect of the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’, nearing achievement of wellness, I have to concede, while humbling, and fairly worrying, the realisation there is a mess to address, left in the wake of my mind’s little rampage and attempt at self-destruction, surely surpasses the short term moment of panic, in this story.


Imagine if all of us busy, full time working, thinking, feeling, hearing, social networking, living, breathing, sleeping people in this world, were able to find the time and the resources to be able to ‘dig for victory’ for our mental and physical health. Then have the means to look back at the ever shifting landscape of a garden/outdoor space, which we create, sustain and maintain over a number of years.

It’s funny to wonder if this would put Psychiatrists, Doctors, Therapists, self-help books and more, out of a job!


Obviously, there are practical obstacles which get in the way of having time to tend to nature- work, and living in a flat/having no outdoor space, coming to mind first as being just a few of them. It’s all well and good knowing that ‘to spend time outdoors’, in ‘fresh air’ and with Radishes growing out of your fingernails, you’re so ‘in touch with nature’, as a means to recovering mentally and physically from illness, if you couldn’t even fit a plantpot on your windowsill, or hospital bed, for that matter, if you tried.

But there are ways– and you know what they say about ‘where there’s a will, there’s a way’… Personally, I think that saying works out both ways around- where there is a way, there will be a will.

Sometimes, however:

Having the will
to work towards the way in the first place, feels more like an oppressive reminder, of just how hard it can be to regain that will/motivation/drive, when you’ve lost sight of what it even means, feels like, or represents.

‘Will’ or ‘willpower’. The idea that you might need this first, before you can make your way to progress, might serve only to make someone feel  more powerless, more trapped.

‘Means’ or ‘way’. As it happens, even when there isn’t a will, there is still a way. Sometimes, we know of many such ‘ways’ already.

When I have found myself ‘lost’ in the petrifying stomach of Depression, or other such ‘adventures’ in mental illness, I am only too aware of WHAT I have to do, to reignite the wick which fires up my will.

Sometimes, we need a bit of help, when emerging, confused, scared, and downright vulnerable. As it happens, we do still know, deep within us, what ‘the way’ is. It’s never this straight forward (typically) though we understand.


Inspiration to those who need any:

 

(there are so many crafty ways to get around small spaces, lack of plant pots, urban dilemmas etc):

 

 

 

 

 


 

Digging for Victory

The Revolution will be Grown.Walls of Woven Ivy Climb, Seed and Soil accosted; Replaced our captive ‘City’s’ Grey. A Greener Tomorrow, a brighter today!


Vision-

  • To salvage spaces, renew and revive for greener, cleaner and happier places 
  • To grow our own food and produce more locally grown edibles
  • To master the full potential of our Sheffield Allotment, let the land teach us how and where to develop
  • Combine creativity, resources and climate to find new and innovative ways to expand growing spaces upwards, downwards, left right and centre.
  • Bring the garden to the people, enable others to share the joy of gardening, planting new life, reconnecting with the outdoors and the pleasures of engaging with their natural environment
  • To establish roots within the local community, collaborate with social enterprising networks, and help to unify  resources, ideas, and manpower for other similar projects which aspire to improve access to green spaces, and opportunities to start planning new growth
  • To regenerate- Disused spaces and derelict infrastructure, could be revived and given a new lease of life with fresh purpose. Temporary pop up gardens, could be just one aspect of this!

Sheffield is a great city for green spaces, housing an eco-conscious community which fosters the creative and artistic. The social co-operative hubs and independent businesses which are budding and flourishing in the city are also very promising and positive in terms of forecasting the shape of the future to follow for Sheffield.

Sheffield would be the perfect candidate for showcasing the incredible benefits of an edible city, which encourages and nurtures urban food growing and sustainable spaces. Lets get onto this and pull our ideas together as a community to make it happen!

Upcycle– Old Doccers make for very jazzy new plantpots for the growth of Tulips, and many other things!

upcycle the red doccers into plantpots for the holland tulips


Take a look at some of the things we’ve achieved so far, and what we believe to be an assortment of treasures worth digging for…

Welcome to April!

Now that we have (finally) arrived into April again, the time for sowing and growing is defnitely becoming ripe.

Here are some things which like to be planted in April:

Food

Plant out:

Potatoes in well-prepared (i.e. dig up the bed) soil
Carrots
Beetroots
Leeks
Swiss Chard
Kohl Rabi
Peas
Turnips
Summer Cauliflower
Shallots
Onions
Garlic


It is now also an ideal time to plant pot-grown fruit trees and bushes, e.g. Gooseberry/Raspberry/Blueberry bushes

Just remember keep an eye on them, because once they start producing the fruit, the birds aren’t exactly conservative about the amount of cherries to harvest and eat on your behalf!

For more in-depth info and advice: Grow Your Own- RHS- UK


Flowers

For the bees and butterflies:

Foxgloves– They’re happy in part sun and shade. Bees and butterflies love them.
foxgloves emerge may 2015 - Copy

Hawthorns– These can grow 15-30 feet tall, so bear this in mind when planting out, because when it grows, it will cause shade (which can both good and bad, depending on what’s growing nearby)
hawthorn_2531036k

Crocuses– These are gorgeous flowers anyway, and the Saffron pollen is irresistable to bees. It also has loads of health benefits as a herb, so you might even want to harvest some of it’s pollen for yourself!
crocuses

Cerinthe– These are a personal favourite of mine, because they’re so rich in colour, and beautiful. Sow either straight out, or in seed trays indoors first, and then transplant the seedlings into the chosen flowerbed once they’re strong enough.
beautiful cerinthe flowers

Buddleja (butterfly bush)- The bees and the butterflies both absolutely love this bush, and it smells absolutely gorgeous too. If you want to see a lot of butterflies this year, plant this out!
bee and the butterfly loving their Budlhia


More flowers:

Forget-me-nots
Wildflower mixes
Poppies
Dahlias
Anemones
Dutch Iris
Gladioli
Feverfew
Pansies

In summary:
Basically, just go and buy yourself some seeds, mix and match whatever you want, and the advice about how to grow said seeds into bloom will be on the back of the packet anyway. This way, you can choose visually what kind of colours and shapes you want in your garden landscape for yourself, and all you need to do is sow them!

April Showers Galore!

This April has been wonderful for plant growth (including weeds of course!). In particular, the Tulips, some of which are from Holland and others gathered from various Sheffield dealers, are growing exceptionally well!

I’m really pleased with the height some of the Tulips have achieved for themselves: many of the bulbs have returned from the previous year, and some were planted new in about January this year. The April Showers have caused the window box Tulips, in particular, the thrive. They have grown outside from bulb, and been subject to some pretty challenging winds here in Sheffield. It seems to have been good for them, though!


The cat’s posing next to the window box Tulips (above) is just a coincidence of cat vanity and her own shy love of Tulips.


 

tulips in window box 26 april 2016

Photo taken: 20/04/2016