Last week, I pedalled excitedly home from the lottie with my biggest ever cabbage. So big that it filled the basket on the back of my shiny new “Vertigo” bike! I presented it to the much impressed catering department with a glow of pride — a job well done. A joy that was certainly worthy of sharing.
It was maybe a few minutes later that I finally owned up to the fact that I hadn’t actually grown said cabbage. It was in reality a gift from the uncrowned king of our allotment, an excellent man who defies constant back pain to grow massive veg and knows more gardening secrets than anyone I have met. He was happy to be sharing his produce with me.
Then, a few days ago Jan and I drove home from an excellent day with my lovely cousin and her hubbie with a very fine gift of a home-grown red Crocosmia Lucifer. It was a day when the four of us had also shared the exquisite Yeo Valley Organic Garden at Blagdon in Somerset.
Sharing plants from cuttings
Meanwhile, another gardening friend has alerted me to the fact that she has some lupin plants which she has kindly grown for me from cuttings. One of her passions is quietly snipping cuttings wherever she can and hiding them about her person. Much to the embarrassment of her holiday mates, she even does it abroad!
The common thread here is that gardeners are the best bunch you will find when it comes to the often forgotten art of sharing. Ask them to set up the much needed trade deals that follow Brexit and we would make many new friends. We would, for example, exchange many fine cabbages in return for onions from the French, tulips from the Dutch and spuds from the Irish.
But I reckon it goes a bit deeper. When you share something — tangible or intangible — it’s actually a statement that you value someone. By giving you have created a bond that should see kindness flow in both directions.
Sharing your entire garden
Proud gardeners will also often share by showing others their gardens. Usually that’s on an informal basis, but if you get your garden to a really high level you could even throw open the gates on a large scale to raise funds for good causes.
Established in 1927, the National Garden Scheme has raised over £50 million to date for nursing charities such as Macmillan Cancer Support, opening 3,700 gardens each year. I have fond memories as a young newspaper reporter in West Berkshire of doing preview write-ups and getting to visit some inspirational sites. Back then I couldn’t tell a red hot poker from a chocolate orange, but you don’t need knowledge to be a journalist…
I am not sure our own Flintstones patch will ever hit the right level for NGS. And if it did, I doubt whether the catering dept could be persuaded to make cakes and do teas. More fundamentally, given the steepness of the garden, the health & safety brigade would have a field day if ladies of mature years tumbled 20 feet into our waterfall.
Swap some plants
If you just fancy sharing a few plants, have a look at Green Plant Swap which allows you to create a grower page and swap with people in your own area.
For my part, I reckon I need to share a bit more in the way my Mum taught me. So if you are a relative, friend or happen to live in our part of Devon, let me know if you fancy any plant of mine you see mentioned in my blog and I will do my best to propagate for you. As your end of the swap deal you need to be able to offer at least a cabbage! Or maybe a coffee will do…