My mum used to say when I was little that the mud on my knees was a sign I’d had a good day.
I have to say she was right about that one! Many years on, and being outside, in the fresh air still brings me the happiness I felt as a child. Gone are the days of selling mud pies to the neighbours, but the adventure that can only be felt outdoors continues. These days, my attention has turned to flowers. Some would say I’m a little obsessed, but I must admit, even that’s a bit of an understatement.
I think, talk, dream and live all thing flowers. I’m way beyond ‘obsessed’.
The beauty of nature lures you in, irrespective of your starting point. A good friend of mine once said that he couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about...until he too got hooked (with a little coercing from me of course). I remember watching him one day as he faffed about in the garden. He turned to me with a big smile on his face and ‘you were right about this, it really is magical’. How much closer do you get to magic than nature though? We’re always looking for that little bit of magic in our lives but it’s right here in front of us. That tiny seed that drops from a tree that grows to live for hundreds of years, or the innocent-looking flower bulb that that turns into the most beautiful burst of petals after months in the ground; that’s pretty close to magic right?
But it hasn’t always been that way for me
So, a little personal story about how I ended up so potty about plants…. I’ll be honest, I’m a little bit of a stress-head. A natural worrier, I’ll worry about anything if given the chance, so I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised when 7 years ago my body got to a point where it decided enough was enough.
I had developed a strange pain in my face, which over time got worse and worse, to the point where is was completely in control of my life. It’s absorbed every bit of my thinking, it stole the joy from my days and it made me unbelievably miserable. I saw the best pain specialists in the country, no one get to the bottom of it. After reading a life changing book (The Divided Mind by Dr. John Sarno for anyone interested) I came to the realisation, after many years of agony, that it was psychosomatic and essentially the pain was caused from mental distress rather than a physical ailment. It was the most surreal thing finding out that it was my own brain causing the agony and there was nothing physically wrong with me, but it was also liberating to know that if my brain could cause the pain, my brain could stop the pain too.
At that point I realised I could take back control and start getting my life back into the happy zone.
I started by changing my focus, being kinder on myself and finding ways that would help me appreciate life and keep me in the present. What could I do which would plant (excuse the pun) happy thoughts, and bring me joy?
At the time I had a tiny garden but enough space to potter in and to keep me busy. I’d buy plants from the garden centre that had pretty labels…sometimes they worked out, most of the time they failed miserably or would completely outgrow their space. I loved looking after them but didn’t have a clue what should go where, or what I was doing. As time went on I started to feel better, and the tiny bit of outdoor space i had soon became my haven, my little bit of peace in a sometimes chaotic world. I didn’t worry when I was in my garden, in fact I didn’t think much of anything outside of that, I was too happy to give a damn.
When we moved house, I was so desperate to find a bigger garden. While most people head straight to the kitchen on a house viewing, I headed straight outside. After many years of researching, I’d become a bit of a flower geek and was ready to take my garden to a whole new flower-filled level.
Creating a garden from scratch has been incredible. I’ve grown plants and flowers I’ve never grown before and it’s become my own experimentation lab. Out of everything, bulbs get me most excited. They’re so easy to grow, they work in any space and they really pack a punch in terms of colour and fragrance. Often people plant them and forget about them until they make a ‘surprise’ appearance months later. It’s not quite like that for me, I’m pretty much counting the days down until their arrival, but the pleasure I get from seeing them is the same today as it was when I started. Ok... it’s quite a lot more.
Growing flowers has brought me so much happiness.
It’s strange to say that but it’s true. It’s brought beauty, joy and hope into my life. What ever happens today, the sun still rises and the flowers still bloom. Planting, caring for them and seeing them flower really is everything it's cracked up to be.
Last year, my mum joined the business.
She'd had two knee replacements and struggled to do the job she had done before, so as the business started to grow I reached out to her for a helping hand and she’s been amazing and enjoys every minute of it.
Together, we make a great team. It gives us the opportunity to spend some quality time together, while working on something we both love so passionately, hands full of bulbs while sipping cups of tea (or wine if we’ve had a good day and we’re doing a late shift).
This is my attempt to give everyone a chance to experience the magic of growing flowers, without going the long way round (which is a nice way too if you have the time). It doesn’t matter if you have a garden the size of a postage stamp like I had, a teeny tiny balcony or if you’re lucky enough to have endless borders, growing flowers is something everyone can do and you have my word, you’re guaranteed to feel the magic.