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Why did you all start gardening?

I was looking at another thread about companion planting and it went off sideways a bit about people saying they'd started as children etc. So I thought I'd start a new thread and ask you about your gardening experiences? When did you start and what did you do?

Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.


  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 23,824

    This is what I said on the other thread.

    I love hearing what gets people started with gardening. We moved to Reigate when I was 3 and when my parents got settled they gave each of us a little bit of garden. Mine had a stone edge with aubretia hanging over it which I loved. The book "The Secret Garden" inspired me when I was a child. Then when I was 21 and just married I had my first garden and, with the help of my lovely mother-in-law (a keen gardener) I had great fun with it. I've had my present garden for over 20 years, which I made from scratch. When my children were small and we lived in Kent we gave them each a bit of garden. Now they are all married and have their own gardens.

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • Matty2Matty2 Posts: 4,817

    I have no real memories of gardening as a child. When we eventually had more than a yard my father filled it with roses and dahlias, they left me cold so i never bothered. Most gardens after that were dog runs, football pitches, play areas. I became ill and found going out into the garden - the one before this one was therapeutic, but I hated the garden, northfacing, small full of over mature shrubs. I started cutting everything down. One day my eldest son came home from uni  - I guess about 12years ago - and suggested that instead of destroying the garden I made one That was my gardening eureka moment.  I have discovered that not all roses are HT and now love them, still not too sure about dahlias but may try a Bishop this year. I grew out of that garden and so highest onlist of priorities when we were house hunting was a large garden that I could make, not an established one, and here I am.......imageimageimage


  • jo4eyesjo4eyes Posts: 2,058

    I can remember planting flower seeds such as virginia stock with my grandmother when I was little. I was allowed a small patch of her garden to 'play with'. As I got older it was my job to mow her lawn....

    When we had our first house OH & me tried, but with a clay soil, a North facing plot, neighbours' children damaging things with footballs etc & lack of time, it just meant that we kept the lawns cut. I did plant gladioli, roses & bulbs though & they were good.

    When we moved here, at the end of a cold March, not a single bulb was in sight! Lots of trees & un-maintained shrubs & lawn. I did, with my Mum's help, plant a lot of bulbs that first yr. Always watched GW & listened to GQT, as now.

    Life continued. We did cut down/back a lot of the trees & shrubs. But because it was a part-shade garden, still is, lots of plants I bought just didnt cope- no surprise with hindsight.

    Then in Sept '96 I was sat out there & just got fed up with it being just green & having so few flowers! I started to cut down/hard prune shrubs & read & read as much as I could. Beth Chato's Green tapestry book was on repeat loan for ages from the library- I've now got my own copy!

    The 'bug bit' as they say. I read loads, made notes & planted 'right plant, right place'. With learning how to deal with types of shade & improve the soil as I went along, the garden became a place of lots of different plants & shrubs. Colour arrived!

    Yes I made mistakes, we all do. My daughter will soon have her first garden & already is asking questions & making plans. She  enjoys garden shows & visits, but is absent when the compost bins need turning out!!

    My paternal grandfather was a keen gardener, his brother was a professional gardener. My Mum had no training, but definitely had 'green fingers'. My MIL was also a keen gardener so advice was there & genetics too!

    Gardening has been my 'therapy' & I definitely get withdrawal symptoms when I cant get out there! J.

  • I used to love being out in the garden with my dad, as a small child I had my own flower bed and a veg patch.I used to watch Percy Thrower on Gardeners World with him. When I got my first garden, it was a large communal patch of grass and I start digging it up. When I got my next house a gardener told me that the best thing was just to plant shrubs on the steep bank that was my back garden.  Of course, I didn't agree!

  • l used to earn a comic (Bunty if l remember right] if l helped my dad with the weeding and hoeing. Then when l was five l was given my own small patch next to the greenhouse where l would grow radishes,lettuce,a few peas l would always eat raw,candytuff flowers l would grow for the faeries to pick! My jobs when l was older was to open the greenhouse vents and door water dads tomatoes and cucumbers ,without an outside tap this meant many trips to and fro from the kitchen with a heavy bucket and watering can.Oh how l hated that greenhouse through my teenage years but l do love homegrown tomatoes! 

    Then when you finally get your own home and garden you have to keep it nice to fit in with the neighbours then when you really get the gardening bug you wish to outdo the neighbours(or is this just me?)then you have children and you want to show them the magic of nature and where fruit/veg and flowers come from.

  • Matty2Matty2 Posts: 4,817

    What i will add is that when my father passed away my mother discovered she had green fingers and her gardens were always very feminien and pretty. Then she said her father was a gardener and before WW2 people used to take trips to see his gardens in Battersea. Also discovered that her uncle was a head gardener at Tooting Bec. So I guess its in my blood although  I didn't  know it till I started gardening.

    She encouraged me - still doe although she is not alwayswith it. It is her that bought the roses for me, BUT she had to approve them first! image

  • Val40Val40 Posts: 1,377

    Didn't do any gardening until I had a house of my own, athough I would pot on chrysanths for my Dad.  Very theraputic sitting in greenhouse, daydreaming! Moved into my house in November 47 years ago where the 90ft garden was two-thirds rose beds and one third waist high weeds!  The following summer I took on the challenge of clearing said weeds, which took me 2 weeks.  Had a lovely tan though.  Since then it has changed so many times, rose beds became grass for the kids to play and, once they were able to play in local park (can you see that happening today) I set about making it how I wanted.  However, every Winter, I stand at my French windows deciding what I would like to move, change, grow, etc.  It's an ongoing wonderful 'hobby'.  I love my time spent out there where all my worries and concerns disappear.  I am pleased to say that my elder son has the 'bug' but, unfortunately, not much time. 

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,420

    It sort of snuck up on me while I wasn't looking and now I can't stop. I have to see the new shoots and the next germination, flowers coming out, berries appearing. If I don't I go into a decline. I need to be out there to watch all the wildlife as well. The insects, the bats, the newts, the birds. I have to have my daily fix.

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • budlia63budlia63 Posts: 141

    I started 27 years ago when i moved in with builder boyfriend and as he had finished converting a semi into 2 flats we had the ground floor and i love being in the sun.  Started buying stuff cheap at local Kingston on Thames market and as the climate is mild everything did marvellous.  Kept interest through life's ups and downs but this house (now back in Lancs) is one I have been in the longest 10yrs 2013.  Just a lawn and deck then but nasty divorce inspired me to dig away the blues.  I have had an allotment but ill-health diagnosed 4 years ago means I can't do dawn-dusk gardening now,  I did have 18 months of no-gardening but then decided little was better than none and I'm now back obsessing about what to do next. My friends & family aren't 'into plants' but they understand it's my escapism and without it life's empty.

  • Well, my grandfather was a keen Dalia shower and veg shower. We lived on a farm when I was younger and my dad used to tell me all about the plants and veg. My mum told my sister and I that fairies lived in the privet and lavender and the I wasn't to touch the apple tree as the apple Jack man wouldn't be happy. My dad hurt himself on the farm and had a major operation on his back then had bacterial meningitis when I was 8. It damaged his memory very badly. He lost his job and we lost our home. When we moved, the people that had had the house before us had ruined it. Broken boulders, kitchen cupboards and half cars were all part of the garden. Dad rebuilt the garden as he recovered and then he started his own landscaping business which he had for 28 years before he retired. I worked with him for 17 years, in between high school, Art school and my part time job. I never really bothered about the garden until I fell ill 6 years ago next month. I had meningitis and it left me with ME. I spent two years in leg splints and crutches. At that time I had my own wee cottage in the country and I could only walk around the garden before I was exhausted. My dad came down and did little bits for me, explaining what everything was and between us (the meningitis caused problems with both our memories) and using my grandfathers books we muddled through to create a garden that followed my path in my pagan ways. Everything either had a magical purpose, medicinal, edible or wildlife. I could not be without a garden now. I do get a bit of stick because I have old bike petrol tanks as planters and will have veg in all my old bike tyres but...I love it.

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