How does Lesley’s garden grow?

Our reporter Lesley tells us how her garden grows and why it brings her joy. Are you green-fingered too?

Whether it’s a few herbs on the kitchen windowsill, a straggling cheese plant in a macrame holder, a pot filled yard or a colour burst of border surrounding a lush lawn, most of us like to grow.

We’ve moved around quite a bit, and have ‘grown’ in various sizes and settings of garden, from a pocket sized cottage garden, to a back garden that had fruit trees and a lawn big enough to play cricket on. We’ve loved them all.

I once attended a corporate ‘away day’, and we were asked to bring along an item that was precious to us. I brought pictures of our garden. When asked to sum up why my garden was so special I surprised myself by all the disparate ways it brought me joy – a separate room to the house providing escape space, family gathering space, kids party space.

Fruit from the trees and veg (best potatoes I’ve ever eaten!). Constant variety of view.  Wildlife – bats circling over head in the gloaming, a hedgehog trundling across the lawn watched by my daughter and I as we camped out one balmy midsummer night. Listening to owls from my daughter’s window. Even a sparrow hawk landing one afternoon, to finish her dinner at the end of our lawn. And all of these memories to take through the years.

Our garden now is a small urban square. A deliberate choice to reduce work load- and at first regretted – too small, too neat, too restrictive. But we managed to start it practically from scratch, to our own design, and buying all our favourites, chosen over the long years of experimenting, watching Ground Force and Chelsea. Four years in and we love it, not least because it’s very low maintenance!

The picture shows a tree fern and a potted fuschia. I’ve been trying unsuccessfully whilst down in Worcester (a milder climate than Lancashire of course, so you’d think….) to keep a tree fern through the winter – with three sad failures. 

One more go I thought – and in our lovely walled garden, with a bit of help with straw and an old tyre (don’t ask, but gardeners do love to improvise and recycle), it has made it through a northern winter. Hurrah! 

The fuschia is part of a plant that was grown in the garden where I was born. My mother brought the first plant with her through various moves, and I’ve continued the tradition, and passed divided parts on to the family – an heirloom! So it’s over 60 years old and still going strong. I imagine them chatting to each other old and young, comparing notes of New Zealand and Cumberland.

So – what are your growing stories, successes, failures, joys and memories? Whether it’s a window box you started in lockdown, or somewhere to throw the grandkids when you regret that offer of help, we’d love to hear about it.

P.s… I’m looking for some Saxifraga London Pride at the moment. I used to have some in the first bit of garden I had, and would like some for a spot here and can’t find it anywhere – anyone seen any recently – or have some which would divide? We could start a garden swapshop!

Enjoyed reading this? Our award-winning team of reporters volunteer their time to bring you news, views and nostalgia from the over 50s community in Greater Manchester. Support the team’s running costs: spare a few quid and buy them a Ko-Fi, now!



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Advertise Here at Talking about my generation