As mentioned in a previous post, I’ve got the gardening bug.
If, you count a windowsill as a garden, which I certainly do.
Baby steps, baby steps.
But, I’d been having some technical difficulties with the seeds I’d ‘planted’ (laid on wet kitchen roll). No matter how frequently I spritzed them, they stubbornly remained, un-sprouted.
Enter Mother, armed with VINDRUVA, a little IKEA greenhouse (that you can buy here), which helped to combat the bleak, sunless skies of Portsmouth in January. She also threw caution to the watering wind and saturated the little blighters, against the instructions of the packet. But, what can I say? She’s gutsy.
And she was right! They’re alive!
The rush of excitement I got when I saw these sprouts, was probably a bit OTT, but it brings me to the essence of this post.
Of late, I’ve been a bit down – to put it mildly.
This is something that has happened to me periodically throughout my life. I lose my sparkle. The daffodil that I always strive to be, wilts and closes in on itself. The most basic of tasks feel like a struggle; I get weak, perpetually exhausted and just plain sad. I sometimes feel like I’m treading water with the weight of the earth hanging from me, just trying to stay afloat.
I sought help when I was about seventeen, a dreaded visit to the doctor culminated in nothing more than a bunch of shiny counselling leaflets and the offer of Medication. The M word. Several people very close to me have gone onto anti-depressants, and it frightens me. From very personal experience, I feel we are prescribed too many things, too heavily and too soon, and yet we wonder why the NHS is in turmoil…
But this post isn’t about problems, it’s about my solution! (Or part of it).
This time around, I am trying to change the weather myself.
As well as taking the time to eat right, take vitamins, sleep more, drink less, be cute to myself (etc), I somehow stumbled into growing things.
And it is making me happy.
Getting home and checking my little plants, and seeing that something I have brought into life is actually growing, gives me a little green lift.
Right now, I need all the lifts I can get, so seeds aren’t the only things makin’ it on my windowsill…
Garlic! So. Easy.
I just nestled an ordinary segment into some wet soil and it’s starting to root! Soon I’ll plant it properly, and eventually have my own garlic bulb. Which is great, as I use so much garlic in my cooking, it feels only right to source some myself!
This is just the bottom of an iceberg lettuce that I saved and plonked in a little bit of water. Ridiculously easy and in less than a week, there are at least ten new leaves forming, all for free! This would be a great way to feed pet rabbits or other little scutterlings.
I’m also experimenting with an avocado. And, growing some lovely daffodils, grow what you want to be :).
There is heaps and heaps of research available online that explains the science behind gardening’s mental health benefits. But it seems so obvious, I can’t believe I never thought of it before!
Such a small but rewarding endeavour, it gives you actual living proof that you aren’t entirely rubbish at everything, on those days where you feel quite the opposite. Plus, you give it life just by breathing! We exhale the carbon dioxide that it needs to grow, and in turn, it creates the oxygen that gives us life.
Quite lovely really.
I was inspired to write this piece by the website: http://www.time-to-change.org.uk
It encourages open conversations about mental health and the reduction of the stigma that floats around it. Click the link to get involved.
As ever, feel free to comment anything you like. Let’s embrace the conversation!