Clemmie Hambro’s gardening week: June 8
Friday, 08 June 2012

Clemmie Hambro’s gardening week: June 8

Very sadly for me, this is my last column and I have been humming and hawing about what on earth I was going to write about. I was going to write about my new obsession with soil health. This means looking after our soil so that it remains an important part in reducing our greenhouse emissions – there are over 1,500 gigatons of carbon in our soil, which is more than in the atmosphere and vegetation – it is a massive carbon bank and we are fiddling about with it all too much.

Then I was going to write about the overwhelming amount of cow parsley that was swashing around the Chelsea Flower Show. I have never seen so much of the stuff. Anthriscus sylvestris and all its various friends and relations certainly had their moment in the sun. And while I do love cow parsley, I think it is a bit odd that I don’t think I saw a show garden without it.

But no, all I really want to say is a big, huge thank you to you. I think of my column as part of my home and have just loved chatting to you, not only about my garden but how my garden impacts on my life and how my life impacts on my garden which is, it turns out (as I had no idea it would be) quite an intensely personal journey. So I want to thank you for being patient with me while I finally reached that conclusion and then afterwards while I blathered on and on about this and that with a spot of gardening thrown in for fun.

I am also grateful to you for being kind enough to put up with an absolute novice; I had never written about gardening before in my life. I had a garden and I had studied for a few years, but that did not prepare me for the fact that really I knew very little about anything at all.

But it turns out, it doesn’t matter (well, not that much) because for all of us, gardening and the successes and failures that it brings, is actually just a very long road that one trundles down until one, well, dies, I suppose.

You will never know it all; you just discover a way of doing something then rediscover it the year after and then find out a while later that you had been doing it wrong all the time. Except you weren’t wrong at all, because it wasn’t the wrong way for you.

But you are all very experienced and knowledgeable gardeners and so I had to be on my toes at all times to keep up with you. And I have loved, every week, having to find a story to tell. It has forced me to acquire a new set of eyes. I suddenly began to look in a whole new way – at my garden, at plants, at the seasons themselves – with the sort of scrutiny that has made me feel very awake and engaged.

But most of all I want to thank you for helping me to realise that gardening is properly important. Important because it transforms the spaces we live in for the better, important because it makes us feel better while we are doing it, when we sit down after a long, hard day of doing it, and occasionally while just merely thinking about it.

You have also helped me realise that gardening is not just a practical issue, but also a political issue, an environmental issue, and an emotional one. It is a true force for good in this world. And I don’t know if I would have discovered that so clearly without you all. So for that I truly thank you.

I will be starting a gardening blog very soon, so if you want to find me again, follow me on twitter: @clemmiehambro



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