The focus of today’s #SixOnSaturday is motivated by two things. The first is, frankly, that I have no interested in braving the damp, the cold and the gloom on the off-chance that there might be six interesting things going on in the garden!
But the second is that I wanted to reflect a bit more on my decision to attempt to be a bit more intentional about sharing gardening-related ‘acts of kindness’ this year.
For those that missed last week’s posts (here and here) I’ve decided that I want to proactively try and use plants to be kind to people! I think we’re all aware that the whole world is feeling under the cosh a bit at the moment and I while I (probably) can’t do nice things for the whole world, I can be intentional about trying to make a little difference to the people I come across in the course of my day-to-day life.
This week I’ve given some combination of common and chocolate mint to… the bloke who came and fixed the element in my oven which – both gratifyingly and appropriately – he described as ‘so kind’, to a lady who’s training to be a vicar who interviewed me about some volunteering I do (‘such a blessing’), and two friends I hadn’t spent any real time with since pre-COVID, both of whom, it turns out, love mint!
I also met a couple of friends yesterday who I know don’t garden or cook so I gave them both small peace lilies that were divisions from a larger plant. They were thrilled!
The most significant thing I’ve been struck by in that no-one’s so far thought I’m a weirdo for giving them a plant!! I knew I’d be fairly safe with giving plants to friends, but it does feel like the biggest impact has been on the people I don’t know, and, interestingly, they’re the people who’ve used the language of kindness.
But the thing that’s surprised me most is just how quickly I’m getting through plants!!!! That’s actually a very significant reflection on how much my mental health has improved since I went off sick from work. Just a few weeks ago I could never have coped with the number of coffees and conversations I’ve had in the last fortnight.
I’ve realised that herbs probably are the way to go with this, particularly with people I don’t know; even if they’re not gardeners, they probably do at least a bit of cooking, and a pot of herbs can sit on a windowsill as well as in a garden.
However, I’m pretty certain that by the end of this week I’ll have used up my current supplies of mints! I have lots more cuttings in jars on the kitchen windowsill but they’re taking longer to root at this time of year, and I’ve started to sow herb seeds, although it’ll obviously be quite some time before they’ll be ready to give away. I’ve also bought a supermarket rosemary which I’m plundering for cuttings.
I’m also taking houseplant cuttings – particularly of tradescantia (silver inch plant) – and keeping my eye on which of my collection of peace lilies, spider plants and anthuriums might be divide-able.
This might all sound a bit like hard work but actually I’m really enjoying the sense of focus and the refreshed outward-looking perspective it’s given me. Obviously I don’t know how long I’ll be able to keep it up but all the time it’s doing both me and other people good then I’ll keep going!
Huge apologies if that all comes across as being a bit ‘worthy’!! Head to The Propagtor‘s blog to see what’s going on in other gardens in the UK and beyond!
Twitter and Instagram: @MySecretGard