Slow Living: Principles for the Garden May 21, 2016 11:17

Do you read Kinfolk? I do and I love it. It is a 'slow' magazine - 100 plus pages of beautifully presented articles, ideas and opinions to help readers find ways to simplify life and spend more time with friends and family. At it's heart is the concept of living life with less. While I understand the principle, I struggled with its interpretation for a while. Is it really a natural state? Is it realistic? Head to your nearest garden, park or hedgerow at this time of year and you'll see that nature itself is hardly 'pared down'. Colour, abundance and vibrancy can be found in every woodland, park, allotment and window box. And while I appreciate clean lines, symmetry, an uncluttered home (that will be the day)... I can't forgo the fun, celebratory feel that I get when I'm out in the garden (which is currently teeming with colour and life) on a warm, sunny day, either pottering, playing with the kids or putting my feet up.

Having paid a little more attention to the detail of the theory behind Kinfolk and the whole slow living movement, I've realised that the concept is about focusing on the things in life that you couldn't live without. That is not the same as going without. And it is this interpretation that I take with me into the garden. 

In my garden there are just three simple things I couldn't live without: 

1. Water: We share our garden with a host of bugs and beasties that just love our pond. Dragonfly, boatmen, newts and frogs are a constant source of fascination for my small boys. The garden wouldn't be the same without them. And so water is a must. 

2. Favourite Flowers: To me, the William Morris principle of having nothing in your "house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful" extends to the garden. As luck would have it, many flowers are both useful and beautiful - either to cook with or to sit alongside veggies as a deterrent to pests. I'm learning more and more about companion planting thanks to my new potager veg patch. Variety is the spice of life and right now my favourites include Geums, Alliums and Rosemary - which is currently in full flower. 

3. A place to be peaceful: Whether it's first thing in the morning, before anyone else is stirring, or last thing at night after a busy day, for me, just sitting outside is a cathartic experience. I don't need anything other than a jumper and a comfy garden chair. Perfect. Now that's living.