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.
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):
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:
Potatoes in well-prepared (i.e. dig up the bed) soil
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
For the bees and butterflies:
Foxgloves– They’re happy in part sun and shade. Bees and butterflies love them.
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)
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!
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.
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!
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!
Let them grow 🙂
Sunflowers, Summer Red Cabbages, Artichokes and Little Gem Lettuces. All finding their way into the world from beneath the soil. Let Sunflowers live, and may the bees find ever more pollen to feast upon!
The Department for Communities and Local Government is providing a £1.5 million fund to support the development of up to 100 pocket parks by communities in urban areas. This funding will help put communities and their partners in a position to take on the management of green spaces of value to them; and contribute resource towards turning around spaces so that they are in good condition and communities can focus on managing them for the future.
What is a pocket park?
Pocket parks are small areas of inviting public space where people can enjoy relief from the hustle and bustle of city streets. Pocket parks – locally identified, smaller areas of green space ultra-local to where people live and work – can provide well-being opportunities, as well as helping to improve community integration, community pride and social action, especially where communities are involved in the upkeep and development decisions of such a park.
Promising ideas to bring forth ideas for improving and expanding upon our city’s urban greenscapes, sustainable and overwhelmingly positive green city of Sheffield! Proposals include two massive biodomes at Parkwood Springs MTB trail, increased dirve towards bringing allotment and growing spaces to a wider range of the Sheffield community… In all, green, sustainable, adaptable and innovative moves in the right direction for revolutionizing the way Sheffield businesses, urban development projects and economic revival can take root and thrive!
In short, this is the gist:
- A new exhibition showcasing 50 ways of improving Sheffield – from two massive biodomes at Parkwood Springs to an aerial walkway through Endcliffe Park
- Proposals include creating an urban allotment in Charter Square, transforming Rockingham Street Car Park into a drive-through cinema, and turning part of the Porter Brook into a swimming and watersport facility
- The proposals are the results of more than a decade’s worth of course work carried out by architecture, landscape and urban design students at Sheffield University.Each year, scholars are asked to come up with fully costed and planned-out designs which could, in theory, improve the city’s built environment.
- The exhibition will be held as part of the upcoming Festival Of The Mind, an extravaganza of art and science events being run at venues across the city in September.
The ideas put forward by the students and scholars at Sheffield University, which will be showcased during this year’s upcoming Festival Of The Mind; ‘Fifty Ideas For A Better Sheffield runs at CADS art complex in Smithfields from September 20 – 30. Entry free.’
Some of the comments in the Star’s article hint at a troubling underbelly of pessimism (or realism, call it what you will), which comes across in a somewhat skeptical tone as told by Ivan, 24, who is running the project through the Shalesmoor, Kelham Island and Neepsend Network development agency which he manages; “The trouble is once the course work is finished, it’s marked, put in a drawer and no-one ever thinks about it again.”
However, an obvious mind for practical solutions to realistic obstacles drives his reasoning behind deciding to invite a much wider audience to take a look at these project ideas and discuss, and indeed there will be an abundant supply of useful, inspiring and thought provoking information on offer at the exhibition. Ivan has concluded: “This exhibition isn’t just a mine of ideas, it’s a mine of information as well.”
One reason I know I will be attending, is to gather ideas and invite feedback about how some of the showcased proposals can inform and help shape the future for my own aspirations about restoring Sheffield Ski Village, by turning parts of it into an ‘edible park’, community hub of leisure which can and should be laced with gardening and green spaces.
I know that here in Sheffield, We all cherished the spirit and communal joy Sheffield Ski Village once brought to our city for folk to enjoy, and likewise, we still take great pride in being called ‘the greenest city in Europe’… What is NOT valuable and equitable about a city determined to fight to remain Green, Socially Innovative and Creative?
View over Sheffield from the slopes of the old Ski Village
Regeneration of Sheffield Ski village: plan is not to take up or hinder any efforts to restore the old ski village, or any additional leisure hub plans. This edible park/commnity grow space plan; seeks to assist with the revival, because we can upcycle a lot of the debris into flower/vegetable beds, plant trees, create art and sculptures, jazzy benches etc.
It’s also to be a family friendly park, and the plan has been put forward that we only need approx 700 sq metres to achieve the edible park, bearing in mind the entire ski village alltogether is approx. 10,000 sq metres! Please help me to use this opportunity to create something additional and positive from the devestating arson attack… This would be MUCH better than MORE HOUSES- which is a fate which could afflict the land if it is left much longer in dispute and stagnation due to problems with communication between SCC and the leaseholder of the land upon which the Ski Village once stood proud and untarnished…
Story so far:
Using my Facebook page; Dig for Victory- grow, revive, upcycle and thrive, I launced a campaign in March 2014, with the intention of gaining support and/or interest in the future of the old Ski Village derelict space.
I launched a crowdfunding page to help raise £2,000 to Create Sheffield Edible Park- a new community green space in which people could come together to help regenerate the soil from the arson attack ash, and upcycle the debris creatively, into new structures and growing spaces.
See the page here:
From the page post about this project:
“We’re raising money to Create Sheffield Edible Park growing space because Ski Village remains derelict and needs revival. Support this project on Yimby by…
Although fundraising target was never reached on this project via Just Giving, would anyone still be interested in continuing efforts towards the aim of utilizing and regenerating Sheffield Ski Village as the edible park/green space?
Please comment or message me to register your interest!”
A sample of the Ski Village Project images