Greenfingers… The Alan Titchmarsh column

He’s a brilliant presenter, accomplished gardener, talented novelist, and allround horticultural inspiration. This month, Alan Titchmarsh discusses the unpredictability of Mother Nature.

Us gardeners are a tenacious bunch, aren’t we, and we are largely philosophical about the challenges that confront us. We dig, we plant, and we prune, with the hope, the expectation, that our hard work will pay off. But let’s be honest with ourselves – while we can put all the love and care into our gardens, we’re really at the whim of nature, aren’t we?

Of course, you might have a notion of what your garden will look like, a picture in your mind, but nature… well, she has a mind of her own. She doesn’t always follow our well-intentioned plans, does she? Whether it’s a sudden frost in spring, a deluge when we’d expected sunshine, or even a cheeky mole wreaking havoc amongst our tulips… and those beautiful roses you planted, just perfect for your garden’s colour scheme? Sometimes they simply decide not to grow!

In short, nature has a way of reminding us who is truly in control. Now, if I’ve learned anything from my years digging in the dirt, it’s that gardening isn’t about fighting these setbacks. Rather, go along with them. We need to adapt, to be resilient. Let’s take that mole as an example. We might feel frustrated, even a bit angry, to find our lovely lawn full of molehills. But then, we might also realise that Mr. Mole has kindly done us the favour of aerating our soil! And that presents a perfect opportunity to sow some wildflower seeds.

Before you know it, what was once a patchy lawn could become a buzzing, vibrant mini-meadow. And all thanks to a little setback! It’s only right, isn’t it, that we let nature find her own way? After all, she’s been doing this for quite a bit longer than we have. Who are we to dictate the rules? Our job, as gardeners, is to support and encourage nature, not to control it. Now, there will be times when we’re up against the wall, when the weather, the bugs, the unexpected growth, feel like too much.

It’s okay to feel disheartened, but I implore you to take a step back, to look at your garden, and to see not what it isn’t, but what it could be.

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