Lent for the Gardener

Lent, a Christian religious observance that runs from Ash Wednesday through to Easter Sunday, is a special season for the gardener to – after all, the winter is fighting the onset of spring, the ground is beginning to warm and the daffodils are taking over from the snowdrops to provide a bright fizz of sunshine across the landscape.

But the idea behind Lent is important as well.

For Christians, Lent is a time to deny something from their normal lives. This is used as a way to prepare for Easter, but also gives space to the observer to consider the way they live.

This is the part that really interests us, as a gardener.

Winter is like Lent

The winter is almost a Lenten season for the gardener – the weather stops us getting outside and growing our vegetables and flowers, or trimming our shrubs, or cutting our grass. It is a period of dormancy, of rest, and we find ourselves battening down the hatches of our homes and getting a gardening fix from books and nursery catalogues – the practical nature of gardening is turned theoretical, and the fantasies of what we can grow when spring arrives normally gets us so excited we order vast quantities of new flower seed we will never have the space or time to grow.

(Hurrah to that little ritual, that every gardener knows!)

This space in our lives, this Lenten season, allows us to grow as  gardener. It allows us to question and discover the garden we want to have, where we have gone wrong previously and the projects we want to make happen in the coming year.

We love the winter for this and have been busily allowing our thoughts on gardening to run wild. Have you?

With A Little Space…

In previous years we have decided the following about our garden practises:

  1. We will stop working for clients who insist the only way to garden is with herbicides.
  2. We will try our hand at topiary.
  3. We will grow cut flowers for florists (and how we miss that now we no longer do it!)
  4. We will learn to use a scythe, then start a London-based eco-friendly lawn cutting service where staff dressed in black cowls take their scythes to different small gardens in the city to cut the grass. Staff will take the Tube to get to each garden, so making the world a more wonderful and weird place by populating the Underground with folk dressed as the Grim Reaper carrying his work tools. We loved the idea…
  5. We will look more deeply into stock-free gardening (that is where you use green manures, not animal products to build soil fertility…)

As you can see, sometimes the Lent season for the gardener gives you the space to come up with a good idea… and sometimes a crazy one too!

Lent, for You

We hope Lent – whether the Christian period or the ‘Gardening Lent of Winter’ we have spoken about today – will encourage you to take part in this practise, to give yourself a little space and think about how you can become a better gardener.

Here’s to Lent!



Save Ryton Organic Gardens!

There seems to be some underhand shenanigans going on here. Bob Flowerdew is threatening to resign. We face losing the UK’s cornerstone organic garden. So please take a look at what is going on via the Facebook group…. go on! Go Now! Save Ryton Organic Gardens!


Garden Design Trends 2018

shed garden trend

Today we will be looking at Garden Design Trends in 2018. Just so you are in the know about what is cool and what is not cool in the 12 months ahead…. For the past like, million years I have shared my thoughts on what the gardening industry tell us the latest trends are going to be. If you are interested, you can see here the garden design trends for 2017. Or take a peek at my favourite of all the posts I have written – Alternative Garden Design Trends. This is my individual take on what the latest garden design …



Northern Forest – UK Plans For 50 Million New Trees

Well now, this is interesting…. UK Plans 50 Million New Trees in Northern Forest Likely? See the pitfalls? We love the idea and wholeheartedly support as much tree planting as possible. But are seriously doubtful that this is more than a sticking plaster solution to England being so vastly ‘under-treed’…. or should that be ‘overfelled?’ Yet whether this idea happens or not, all we ask is that you please make sure you plant as many trees as you can in your garden!