This week our man in the garden Gareth Austin had a chat with North Donegal community gardener Joanne Butler and Joanne took some time away from sowing and growing to share her story with Gareth…
It has been well documented in recent years about the benefits of gardening. Not just the getting out in the fresh air bit, or the growing a wee bit of veg bit … but the bit that goes on in between , in fact the bit we sometimes don’t even know about !
It’s all in the head.. Literally! Stress; let’s face it, its part of our everyday lives now. What we see is a world that’s changing all the time … we stress about money, we stress about our family, we stress about the environment. The list is endless.
It’s all around us. But there comes a time when we just have to stop. Take time. Breathe.
For me that is what gardening is all about. Learning to grow, learning to nurture what we have got, and learning to take time out for ourselves. To de-stress.
And of course that leads me onto where I found my time, my solace and my way of life.
Gardening for me is about looking straight into the face of Mother Nature and smiling.
When I discovered gardening I found a new way to relax and enjoy the little things in life, I don’t take it too seriously and I have fun along the way. From the very first seedling in the spring to the last harvest of the autumn, and some … it really is a force to be reckoned with.
At the community gardens we have found a way to harness all this fun, meeting new people and learning new things. As a facilitator of various community gardens in Donegal, it’s not just about me standing in front of a group of people telling them about soil or how to grow and protect our crops – it’s about us all coming together sharing experiences and finding old and new ways to grow vegetables and flowers.
In some gardens we have started from the bottom up taking new patches of ground and turning them into little pockets of sunshine, in other gardens we work from the top down, restoring a polytunel or garden back to its former glory. But I certainly couldn’t do any of this on my own , as the saying goes ‘it takes a village to raise a child ‘ and that’s exactly the same for the community gardens !
Sowing, planting and eating … together. The ingredients are simply People and Nature.
Young or ‘Slightly older’, beginners or pros, community gardens are always on the lookout for some of these ingredients.
So, if you need to reconnect with nature, or that a wee bit of fresh air might do you the world of good this spring, then have a think about all the benefits you might get or might bring to a community garden near you. Leave the woes behind for an hour or two and I promise you, the stress levels will thank you for it.
Even if it’s just to make the tea and have a chat you are more than welcome and the community garden would be more than happy to have you on board. Everyone grows in different ways, and that’s not just plants I’m talking about.
OUR community, OUR Food, OUR Future.
Joanne Butler runs OURganic Gardens and is a facilitator of various gardens in Donegal . This spring she will be running workshops is Ards Walled Garden , Dunfanaghy , Gortahork , Mountcharles , Ardara and Portanoo . For more information you can contact Joanne on 0861789971 or email@example.com .Tags: