July 2023

"Really don't know where to start with this. I have never considered myself a gardener so this is all new to me. In fact up until recently what I had was a miniature jungle full of weeds and 'junk' that I intended to turn into garden projects one day soon (insert my mother rolling her eyes at me here lol).

The Daisy Garland Green Shoots project came along and even though I didn't actually sign up initially - knowing myself well enough to know it would be another good intentions but no follow through thing - i was really enjoying watching everyone else's progress in the Café.  [Daisy's Keto Cafe is an online parent support group for families whose children with complex epilepsy are following the ketogenic diet.]

I think the thing that set me off was something that came up during a Daisy Garland Mindfulness session.  Sara [Daisy Garland CEO and Founder] mentioned how the Green Shoots project was complimentary to the Mindfulness programme. During the session she recommended a book, The Well Gardened Mind - a fantastic book I'm still SLOWLY making my way through - she also mentioned that gardeners have a greater range of beneficial gut bacteria.  Something just clicked in me that here is something I can do to help improve the health once again of my son, Spud.   Weaning the [ketogenic] diet had left me feeling a bit like we were back to relying on meds alone, so feeling like I could be pro-active once again was incredibly motivating.

So my week off work hit, the weather was nice, I was feeling motivated, TDG had sent me some seeds to plant and a mere 6 years after moving in I finally managed to start my gardening project. The garden planters i had bought years ago finally got painted up, the astro turf I'd completely forgotten was in the shed was rediscovered and laid and I actually managed to plant some seeds.

That was the start of June, i dont think there has been a day since where I haven't been in the garden at least twice a day. It's become my space, somehow when I'm doing all the little tasks out there it just seems to absorb me, it quietens the noise in my head and I become unintentionally mindful.

Of course as an absolute beginner gardener nothing I had pictured has worked out the way I thought it would and I'm absolutely fine with that, im learning something new each day, Acers as it turns out are not a fan of full sun and will drop all their leaves in protest at the lack of shade.   Courgettes (see below) really do need more space than you think and do not like to be moved once planted.  Potatoes take at least 100 days to grow and require a lot of patience.  Slugs will eat anything you're growing and your neighbours really don't appreciate when you give them flying lessons etc...

All of which is to say that I've found that gardening, much like the mindfulness, is not so much a before and after project as it is a work in progress.   And while both projects will never be completed it's not about getting to the end its about growing (I'm sorry I went much to corny there!)

Tomorrow I will be cooking the very first vegetable I've grown myself for lunch - whether I get to eat any before Spud steals it all is debatable, but i know he will be eating something I've grown and nurtured myself.   Its fresh from the garden, has no pesticides on it and if he eats more like that it may even help keep him just that little bit healthier.

I'm hopeful by next year I will have managed to get a raised bed for the garden so i can grow a lot more in the space and encourage Spud to join me out there.   So far he's only interested in the part that involves eating, but you never know, one day I may get him out there.  In the meantime, I'm just going to keep on growing :)


Updates coming soon!  Watch this space 🌱