What it is to be a gardener…

Ollie talks about what inspired him to become a gardener.

I have been fascinated by plants ever since I was a little boy, but my love for them was fired by my grandmother’s garden. Her garden will always be my favourite garden, as it has an air of magic about it. It always rides the fine line between chaos and order, but is undoubtedly packed with life!

ollie's granna

Looking towards her house from the cul-de-sac outside there is no sign of anything special, just an ordinary bungalow amongst many, but when you go through the garden gate I always feel like I am entering another world.

My grandmother (Granna to me) is not a trained gardener, but she has a passion for plants. She is always developing something in her garden, be that digging another pond, adding to the herbaceous borders, hacking back an overgrown shrub or turning a neglected part of the garden over to a productive extension to the veggie patch. These ventures aren’t always successful, for example one of her ponds leaked badly, but not to worry because she decided to turn it into a bog garden and grew a Gunnera in it instead.

Her garden is home to some ancient raspberries, which have never been pruned properly but produce the most delicious fruits in abundance. There are also small cordon pear trees with the most unconventional habit, some of which are enveloped in Ivy. They were at some point proper cordons, but have subsequently had their formal pruning regime abandoned and have developed rounded crowns on slanting trunks. They never failed to crop though.

The countless nooks and crannies of the tamed and wild parts of the garden are home to a plethora of creatures…insects, newts, birds, frogs, snakes, snails and not forgetting Sherpa, her much loved pet tortoise, all playing out their lives in this suburban oasis.

What I am trying to say is that Granna’s plot is in no way “by the book,” but she always has a go and enjoys interacting with her garden. Some of the best outdoor spaces are created by accident or by people just having a go.

There is one word to sum up my favourite garden and that is ALIVE, and to be a gardener is to be in tune with what brings outdoor spaces alive. So have a go, get stuck in with our leafy friends.

Thanks to Granna who fired my love of plants and keep doing what you do!