As a 20-something who works in digital, I often notice the puzzled or surprised looks I receive when someone learns of my passion for gardening. Amongst others (in my age group in particular) there is a perception that gardening is a past-time for older individuals.
So, why do I garden? The answer is both simple and complex, in the way that many of life’s pleasures are when you really start to introspect and think about the why. First and foremost because it is a safe space, one in which you are free to impose your own will and vision, without the need to pander to or flatter others (as seems to be much the case in so many other aspects of life). It is a place to experiment, to make mistakes, and to learn yourself as much as the soil and plants.
My day job revolves around thinking about, and designing things, from the perspective of others. The garden is purely for myself, and I can be as selfish, outlandish or conservative as I desire, safe in the knowledge I cannot be wrong, be judged, or be criticised.
Yes, mistakes will be made. Plants may wilt and certain layouts might need reworking, but there is a pleasure in the process that is hard to describe. Creating a garden is not about the destination; it is never finished. It is the journey, the expanding horizons, the excitement when something works, and the disappointment and resolve when something doesn’t.
Gardening provides the opportunity to leave an, albeit fleeting, mark on the world. The chance to craft something physical, completely unique and natural; qualities that often seem rare in todays disposable, commodotised, digitised, manufactured world.