Discovering Gratitude in Gardening with Anne Byrne

So, we’ve all been in this together over the last few months. Lessons have been learned, small things previously taken for granted are more appreciated and the world is going to be a better place when all this is over’. Or is it?

I will admit I haven’t liked this lockdown one little bit and I’m really struggling with the notion of extracting a silver lining, though I’m acutely aware of those who had it much worse. But I didn’t need a global pandemic to teach me life lessons and nor, I suspect, did many of my fellow gardeners – because lots of us had learned them already. Realising how powerless you are when confronted with the forces of nature. Patience. Tolerance. Creativity. Sharing. (I defy anyone to find a more generous bunch than plantspeople with a thing for raising plants – my own garden is bursting with gifts from green-fingered friends).

Flowers in Garden

Mind you, I’m not knocking the attitude of gratitude – I’ve been devoutly thankful for my own small garden during this turbulent time. I’m convinced it’s helped us to remain (mostly) compos mentis – and I feel keenly for those who were confined to apartments in grey, concrete covered cities. Recent events have inclined many others to seek to rectify the garden shaped hole in their lives, leading to increased demand for garden design – for which I’m also extremely grateful.

But I feel so hurt by all the damage. Not just the precious loved ones lost. The businesses that couldn’t stay afloat. The end-of-school days that got you ready for the next big step. The lines rehearsed that were never performed, the flowers destined for bouquets, the pretty hats for happy days. I can feel it pressing down, like a weight, not just on me but on all of us.

I know this must seem a bit dark but I feel it needs to be said. We can’t ignore the loss, we have to face it if we are to move on. You have to pass through the night to get to the morning.

Rebuilding after a disaster is another thing gardeners know all about. You spend countless hours on something you’re proud of and a storm can bring it crashing down overnight. Small, invisible pathogens can wreak havoc. Creatures, great and small, will eat or trample on your greatest achievements and you have to start again from scratch. You learn how to be resilient, and resourceful, and to hope for the future. But most of all you learn your place in the great scheme of things because while gardens are all about trying to control nature, no-one’s under any illusions about who the real boss is.

And then you get a summer morning when the scent of roses lingers in the still air, and the little flower-faces turned towards the sun give your heart a lift. You notice the first sweet pea has flowered – later than expected, but like everything else in this strange year, appreciated all the more because of it.

And you thank God you’re a gardener.

Anne Byrne

With qualifications from the world-renowned Royal Horticultural Society, Anne can advise you on all aspects of your garden design. By combining her skills and experience with imagination and passion, Anne’s garden design will be the perfect finishing touch to your beautiful home.

Anne Byrne