Tlisted below are all types of primary tenets held expensive by the normal gardening media, which have turn into such an inherent a part of its DNA that they not solely go unquestioned, however are basically invisible. However right here’s one I’ve all the time considered bizarrely out of step with why most gardeners truly backyard: the fixation with all issues low upkeep.
No matter I work on, whether or not it’s TV, radio or books, the primary instruction repeatedly handed all the way down to me is that each one concepts needs to be extremely simple for individuals who don’t need to spend an excessive amount of time on them. My drawback with that is that it’s predicated on the concept gardening is boring; some brain-numbing chore you need to be over and executed with as quickly as doable. Just like the washing up or ironing, it’s the kind of factor you want nifty hacks to dramatically velocity up or, ideally, keep away from doing altogether. This kind of method is epitomised by the makeover present, the place crops are handled as one thing to be hurriedly chucked down like cushions or candles earlier than the all-important reveal.
These well-meaning assumptions are, maybe unsurprisingly, made by individuals who have little to no precise curiosity in gardening, who additionally typically occur to be the very gatekeepers that management the content material in conventional horticultural media. I’ve sat in conferences with tv bigwigs and been instructed with a straight face, “Sure, gardening on TV could also be boring, however that’s what viewers need. It’s gardening, in spite of everything.” Discuss a self-fulfilling prophecy. I can inform you, it was actually arduous to cover my reactions that day.
That’s as a result of, to me, gardening is the most effective hour of my week, not the worst. It’s the one time I flip off my telephone; I don’t have to fret about pressing emails and scary headlines, and might simply completely lose myself by communing with the pure world. To me, gardening is exclusive in that it combines all of the exercise and therapeutic advantages of a stroll within the woods with the joys of artistic expression. The truth is, I actively design all my tasks to be excessive upkeep, as – name me loopy – I truly take pleasure in gardening. I need to do extra of it, not much less.
Luckily, lately social media platforms resembling Instagram, the place conventional media gatekeepers have been pushed apart, have made me realise that I’m not alone. The variety of posts with hashtags like #PlantsMakePeopleHappy and #PlantParenthood, reveal that, for tens of millions of individuals like me, the best reward shouldn’t be within the completed product, however within the precise course of itself. As any gardener will inform you, gardens are artwork – they’re perpetual works-in-progress, which are by no means completed.
Comply with James on Twitter @Botanygeek