The Donheads Gardening Club - Page reproduced from the Donhead Digest.

August/September 2019

Budding Gardener. Are gardeners born or do they learn gardening?

"Can I go and pull some carrots Granny"? shouted a small voice as he raced towards the back door, "I want to see how big they have grown and can we cook them?". That sentence sums up a handful of happy gardening days.

It all began with a small boy's curiosity. "What are you doing" demanded my grandson on watching me dig a veg plot. I replied "Well, I am preparing the soil then I am going to plant some seeds". "What are seeds" came the reply. As I put aside the spade and sat on the bench, ideas flooded into my head, how I could keep this tiny person interested. "Would you like a small plot of the garden to grow some seeds?" I asked, "Oh yes please" came the eager reply. The main problem I soon found out was how to stop the whole packet of seeds going into one hole without dampening his enthusiasm. So we sat down and talked about the space in the veg plot and seed drills. Then we turned to, yes, the good internet and looked at how things could look with a little care. Enthusiasm and appetite whetted he was eager to get started. On his next visit we took off to the garden centre to choose some vegetable seeds, I being the more conservative staid one of the pair steered towards the safer bet of Beetroot, Carrots and Runner beans. Lucas however had more grand ideas preferring the look of Artichokes (how on earth do you grow them!), Fennel and the saviour of the group Pak Choi. Following a discussion on which would be a good starting point and easier to cultivate for him and Mummy to cook he thankfully chose the more usual, Beetroots, Carrots and Onions sets. We also chose Runner bean seeds and a packet of giant Sunflower seeds. Back home and up in the green house, with "no peace for the wicked" ringing in my ears the flowerpots were flying left and right, the small boy was raring to get these seed things into the soil. We began filling the trays with seed fibre then Lucas dropped a bean seed onto it and covered the seed with more compost. The fun part came next, watering the trays. Lucas insisted on using the big watering can, far too heavy for him even only half full, the water was everywhere including down Granny's legs and into her shoes, oh the joys. With the bean seeds watered we then turned to planting the other seeds into his little plot, we made small drills, having learnt my lesson previously Granny took charge of the watering can and wetted the drills then Lucas very carefully sprinkled the seeds into the drill and covered them over with soil. The next job was to put the sunflower seeds into pots to bring on. These planted we sat down for a well-earned rest.

Next morning Lucas raced up to his plot he returned looking very dismayed, "Granny there are no carrots or beetroot up there, I got a trowel and dug around but there is nothing, why, where have they gone why aren't they there?" I explained it would be a week or two before anything came up, and we needed to put some more seeds in as the first ones were now goodness only knows where. More drills made, seeds sown and the watering can firmly under Granny's control, Lucas was now under strict instructions to look but not touch! Just imagine the sheer delight when he came racing in to announce one afternoon after school his seeds were showing and "Come and look Granny come and look".

Sure enough there were some very wobbly green lines, he was thrilled, a close eye needed to be kept on these seed things. The sunflowers by this time were well on the way. A wigwam to support the runners was made and they were duly put out. That summer was magic, all the veg he grew was given to Mummy or Nana Hazel, he absolutely enjoyed every moment of it and still does. He likes to pick the crops and every year now saves the runner beans seeds to grow on the following year, he never forgets. I have to comment that he is not interested whatsoever in growing flowers, only the sunflower that I think grew to six foot and over that year. Lucas likes to help out in the garden still and now he's older helps to mow the lawn always asking which way I would prefer the stripes on the lawn to go!! (If only I knew how to get them there). So back to the original question: are gardeners born or do they learn gardening, I can't answer that, I am not sure.

If you are a new gardener or just enjoy pottering, why not come along as a guest to our monthly garden club meetings at Donhead St Mary Village Hall. We have an assortment of speakers over the year, covering a variety of subjects. Please check our website www.donheadsgardeningclub.co.uk for more details.

Cath Toogood

The Donheads Gardening Club is affiliated to:

The RHS, The Gardens Group Sherborne and the Wiltshire Gardens Trust.

We always welcome new members, please see our membership page for details.

Useful Links

Country Gardener Magazine

Open Gardens - National Directory


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