Friend or Foe? Gardening 'freestyle' April 20, 2017 18:31

Gardening advice for beginnersOne Friday night, a good eight or ten years ago, I remember watching Gardener's World. Slouched on the sofa, and I'll admit, under the influence of the obligatory 'we made it to Friday' vino, I watched, nonchalant, until thunder struck. 

A letter from a viewer jolted me out of my stupor. A guy, let's call him Malcolm, had written to the GW team about the horror of finding that the celandine, which was occupying much of his front garden, had somehow made the leap over the garage and was now colonising out the back. I'm not sure whether Monty was hamming it up, or Malcolm was genuinely beside himself at the sight of this infringement. But as soon as an image of the culprit appeared on screen, I went white. 

I had this bad boy in my garden. 

Cue phone call to Dad. 

"Er Dad, it's me. Are you watching Gardener's World". 

"Nope."

[Seriously. I am a young, child free, early thirty something at this point. Mum & Dad are retired. Why AM I watching Gardener's World, and they are not?! Sigh. Anyway...]

"Well, they've just shown an image of celandine and it's serious Dad. I mean, it leaps over buildings and springs up everywhere."

"Right."

"Dad, this is serious, what am I going to do, it's EVERYWHERE!"

At this point, I feel the need to explain my lack of celandine awareness. In the years before this defining moment, I'd lived and weeded happily in the gardens & window boxes of rented flats, shared houses and then, finally, my own little two up two down home. In all that time, I'd never come across celandine. And now I was scared. 

Dad's response had that level headed, whiff of wisdom that now, I hope I impart to my own kids. "Do you like it? Because that's all that matters, Lizzie. If you like it, keep it. It is your garden." 

Ah, yes. Of course. I am a gardener. No wait, I'm an adult! I can choose. Ooh, get me. 

Well, I decided to keep it. Years on, my celandines often provide the first flash of colour in the garden after winter and I love them. I've since learned that I'm in good company. Wordsworth's favourite flower was not a daffodil, but the wild, free spirited celandine. Celandines offer bugs and bees a much needed source of food and nourishment after the cold winter months. It's a native of the UK. For these reasons alone, (not the mention the fact that I suspect it is a devil to get rid of completely) it warrants a place in my garden. 

Like so many other walks of life, there is a lot of information available about gardening, but not always a lot of wisdom. Your garden is your space. Be inspired and informed by others, but ultimately, fill it with things that you love. Create the environment that suits you and your style. That way, friends will be plenty and foes thankfully, few. 

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