CHILDHOOD MEMORIES - HENRY

 

Having grown up in a large family with three older brothers and a younger sister, I had a strong affiliation for the outdoors from early childhood.   

 

It’s safe to say we were well-travelled as a family; my dad working for a large multi-national organization meant we were fortunate to live and experience different cultures, countries and ways of living, but being young, I probably took those things for granted!  

 

My passion for gardening comes from my dad; he’s an avid gardener and somewhat of a perfectionist when it comes to his gardens and the home. In one of our first family homes, I remember nagging my dad for my own veg patch. I was so excited about it, planting seeds and watching things grow is a magical process, especially as a kid! Anyhow, my dad’s passion has definitely filtered through, maybe not in the home, but certainly in the garden! Although my style of gardening is evolving, I’m striving less for perfection and more for sustainable excellence!  

 

Everyone’s gardening journey is different and mine is no exception. Due to certain life events, I strayed off the beaten track during my teenage years and my attention was elsewhere. I thought the world was against me. When I turned 17, I moved to Cornwall with my mum and sister which worked wonders. I escaped social circles and re-affiliated my love with the outdoors, how could I not? Cornwall is simply beautiful. My gardening journey properly started when my wife and I bought our first home several years ago. The day we moved in and got our keys I was immediately drawn to the garden. I took the rotten shed down (on day 1) and started to dream about the possibilities with the space I had. My passion for gardening was obviously suppressed or in gardening terms ‘dormant’ during my rebellious teenage years. When we got our first garden, that was it, the childhood flame had been re-lit!  

 

Being a very practical and hands-on person, I like to build things, I love both the landscaping and planting aspect of gardening equally. My goal as a gardener is always to be mindful of the environment and to garden sustainably. We can all make a huge difference if we do the simple things such as harvesting rain water, recycling and reusing materials, always using  peat-free alternatives, watering less and choosing native plants relative to your conditions. My goal is to build a garden where all waste is re-circulated as part of a sustainable ecosystem, and in tandem, create the most bio-diverse habitat for both human and nature to thrive!  

 

I benefit both mentally and physically from gardening. If ever I feel anxious or down, gardening is my anti-depressant. It takes my mind elsewhere and I forget about all of my troubles because I know I’m doing something good. I feel I have purpose and most importantly, I’m happy. It’s hard to fully explain how gardening impacts my mental well-being. Sometimes it comes across as ‘cringy’ to others who don’t share the same interests, but there’s definitely a sense of feeling grounded when I’m pottering about the garden getting my hands dirty. I know one thing for sure, I will be gardening for as long as I can walk. I hope to open the eyes of my kids and others to the benefits of gardening because for me I get so much from it. It’s a way of life!  

 

Follow Henry on Instagram: @fanatical_gardener

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