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How did your love of gardening begin?


Hiya! I'm currently researching the different ways people's love of gardening and the natural world starts. I've been writing on my blog about the beginnings of my own gardening inspiration (here I am in a photo on Conwy mountain with my wonderful grandparents - where my love of wild plants, gardening and foraging began).

I'd love to get feedback from fellow gardeners on how their passion for growing started.

If you were able to leave me a comment on the blog and in this thread I'd be really grateful. I plan to do a follow-up post later sharing the feedback as well as using it to inform my own work with children and in writing a book about how we engage with the natural world. Thank you and happy gardening!



  • RubeeRubee Posts: 8,899

    When I was small we lived in a tiny house  on a street that had very few gardens . Ours was one of the houses without a garden. We had a tiny yard and growing out of the ground near the wall was a small weed . My father nurtured that weed all summer , watering it and keeping our dog away from it . He new it was a weed .  But  he said its a plant and I like to see it grow. When I was little older we moved into a house wth a large garden .He grew lots of veg including potatoes green beans peas and sprouts   and I used to help him .I never forgot that tiny yard with its little weed that my father looked after.

  • Thank you for sharing Rubee - your response made me smile. I know that feeling of nurturing something even though it shouldn't be there, just because you want to see it thrive! Lovely that your father inspired you and passed on his own love of gardening :)

  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,530

    Until I was 8 we lived in a flat in North London.  My dad was a frustrated gardener.  His only outlet was tending the family graves in the huge Finchley cemetery.  We made a day out of it, three generations with sandwiches and flasks of tea on a sunny summer's day, trees, flowers, birdsong and open air, it was a treat.  We had seaside holidays in North Wales, spent mornings on the beach and afternoons in the mountains.  I loved the outdoors, nature, animals and plants.  Now I'm retired and living the dream, tending my own garden in North Wales.  Too bad Dad's not here to share it, but I've still got Mum.

  • Hi Josusa47 - the picture of 3 generations of family with food and nature makes me smile! I also have wonderful memories of seaside holidays in North Wales as most of my foraging experiences were in the hills and lanes around Conwy. Glad you are there now enjoying the natural environment - pass on my regards to the landscape when you're out tomorrow and thank you for responding :)

  • B3B3 Posts: 27,305

    At about 9 or10, I saw some calendula in the basement of a derelict house - I was hooked. My parents weren't gardeners and we didn't have a garden anyway.

    We moved to a house with a garden and I planted the usual bedding plant suspects.

    It was only when I moved to my own house that I could let rip - wonderfully fertile soil gave me a bit of confidence. 

    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 7,079

    My grandfather died before I was born, but I know he was a keen gardener because my Mum, who also loved gardening, used to tell me about him. My aunt used to take me for walks around the country lanes when I was very young, teaching me the names of wildflowers. In fact all of Mum's siblings were keen gardeners and interested in wildlife - flora and fauna. I learned a little from all of them - indirectly learning from my grandfather, no doubt. The most important things Mum taught me is that there is no right or wrong way to garden, only what you like, plants will try to live - you just need to let them, and we must share with all the other creatures, so I don't kill spiders or wasps, even slugs get relocated rather than killed most of the time (I struggle to keep to that one in my vegetable patch). In my last garden I had terrible trouble with rabbits, but when I found one injured on the side of the road outside, I still took it in and fed it and nursed it until it was well enough to let it go. No doubt it then went out and ate my cosmos, but the lesson is too ingrained - "Give me the child until he is 7" and all that image.

    My Mum and all her siblings are dead now image 

    Gardening on the edge of Exmoor, in Devon

    “It's still magic even if you know how it's done.” 
  • Hi B3 - such a lovely plant to inspire you too - I adore calendula! How great that that little plant in a derelict basement had such a long-lasting legacy.

    I've had literally hundreds of responses for my research across Facebook, on my blog and on this forum tonight and I've felt very privileged to hear people's memories - and there have been several references to how specific plants have inspired people to start gardening - herbs and roses in particular.

    Your story makes me love calendula even more! Thank you :)

  • Thank you for your response Raisingirl. Lovely that their passion for nature lives on in you. I also remember walks around the Welsh lanes with my Granny learning about wild flowers and foraging. My dad taught me about the ways of birds in woodland and fields. 

    I respect your attitude to nature - it is one I've tried to pass onto my students and children too. The natural world is so important, in so many ways and we should love and respect it :) 

  • Thanks Doghouse Riley. Did you have someone whom you learnt from - a family member, neighbour, or did you pick it up as you went along? 

  • My parents took on a derelict cottage with a big garden just after the war.  They worked hard on the land and were able to feed 6 of us with almost all home produced food as well as fill mum's vases with pretty flowers. Dad then went on to run a cluster of greenhouses producing tomatoes and other salad crops for the London markets.

    Our parents gave each of us 4 children a little patch of land in their garden to grow a few flowers and in my eldest brother's case a tree. My brother went on to work in the Scottish Forests for many years, and although I didn't do anything so ambitious I have enjoyed gardening for the past 40 years in my own large garden.

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