Armchair Gardening

Spring seems a long way off. Here on the west coast of Scotland the wind is howling, roof tiles rattling and the rain is beating against my study window.

I don’t mind venturing into the garden on cold days – as long as it’s not on bleak, dark, stormy days like today.

The postman has been busy, stuffing seed and plant brochures into thousands of letterboxes throughout the country. This is the time to start planning beds & borders for spring & summer. This afternoon I’m gardening – from the cosy comfort of the armchair.

I’ve flicked through brochures, browsed online and dreamed of borders bursting with colourful flowers, swaying in a warm gentle breeze – but in reality, there’s a lot of work to be done to achieve that. Seeds, bulbs and plants will have to be ordered. Roses & shrubs will have to be pruned, perennials lifted and divided. In the middle of winter, it’s a pleasure to be able to linger over pages filled with enticing plants.

Two brochures dropped onto my hall floor this morning, tempting me with 10% off every plant, bulb and packet of seeds featured inside. Even more tempting are the glossy, richly coloured flowers printed on the pages. Not a single caterpillar has munched on those leaves, roses are unblemished by blackspot or aphids and the hostas haven’t been turned to lacework by an army of hungry snails. I have all of those in my garden; I can remove snails by the bucketload, but in the end, they always seem to win.

But this doesn’t make me want to stop visiting or working in the garden, because the gardening bug bit a good number of years ago, and I’ve grown to appreciate the therapeutic properties of being in the garden – or even just being able to look out onto it on a wet wintery day.

“The lesson I have thoroughly learnt, and wish to pass on to others, is to know the enduring happiness that the love of a garden gives.” 

Gertrude Jekyll

And so, this afternoon I’ve made some selections that will hopefully turn that wet bleak space outside my window into a colour-filled, perfumed haven in a few months time. I can dream, but I know that some careful thought and hard work will definitely produce a version of what I have in my mind right now, and that will make me happy.

What a fun way to garden…dreaming, plotting, planning…from the armchair.

What are you planning to grow in 2020?

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