Advice to a new gardener
It is no use asking me or anyone else how to dig… Better to go and watch a man digging, and then take a spade and try to do it.Gertrude Jekyll
I love Gertrude Jekyll. Not because of her beautiful colour co-ordinated borders but because of her straight forward writing style and practical approach.
One of my bug-bears when it comes to gardening is gardeners lack of confidence at undertaking quite simple tasks in the garden. The times I have seen people, generally newish gardeners, on twitter saying should I sow this now, how do I sow, should I move this plant, should I prune it, what will happen if I do it wrong? Well the obvious answer to that last one is that the plant may die, but what if it does. You aren’t bumping off your elderly aunt but a plant and if that plant doesn’t have huge sentimental value to you then does it matter? If the plant is unusual then really someone inexperienced really shouldn’t be allowed near it. If you kill the plant you can get a new one.
I am a real believer in having a go. You have nothing to lose. A packet of seeds costs no more than a couple of pounds, read the instructions on the back and just do it. If you think something needs pruning or moving, do it and just remember to make sure if it is dry to water the plant well. Christopher Lloyd, another of my favourite writers and very sensible, said that the best time to undertake a task in the garden was when you thought of it.
This really means that you should trust your instinct. But how do you cultivate a reliable instinct, well by having a go! If you spend your time relying on books and online advice and worrying about it you will never learn from your mistakes and you will never develop an instinct. Certainly use books etc as a guide but you will soon find that the more books/articles you read the more they will contradict each other and you will enter a spiral of confusion.
So use your common sense, have a go, watch and note what happens and learn from it. And most importantly remember to enjoy yourself.
This is the latest assignment for Writing 101 – we had to choose a quote, any quote, as a prompt and write something.