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Plant writings, gardening thoughts & observations of Paul Hervey - Brookes, Award Winning Garden Designer & Plantsman.
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Sunday, 4 October 2009

A Starting Block

As a boy I was lucky growing up a stone trows distance from the Botanic Garden in Oxford and I would spend many happy hours wandering around pretending it was my garden - this would lead to some slightly hairy moments when the gardeners rightly wondered what I was doing in the midst of the herbaceous borders!

At the weekends I found myself a little job working in a small plant shop in Summer Town, I never asked for money but rather took home seeds, plants and all manner of bits and bobs to make my own garden at home.

Although, looking back I had the most dreadful sense of 'taste' (I was only in my teens).  My own garden felt very much an escape from everything, school masters, noise etc, and I was encouraged by our elderly next door neighbours who had seen the War first hand and knew lots about plants and nurturing not only a garden to life but also my growing gardening ambitions.

At Malvern Autumn Show I was approached by a young lady who, as we got talking, told me about a school she was involved with in the centre of Worcester.  The children there were starting up their own school garden.  I was very excited for them and asked how it was all going, sadly it was not going as well as you may take for granted and finding plants and materials to get started was proving difficult.  I made some suggestions and also offered them a couple of plants from the show garden.  I gave them  a couple which are good hard working plants and can easily be propagated either from seed or cuttings.

Over the weekend a letter arrived for me at the Rococo Garden, nothing unusual about that so I opened it with little thought as to what may be inside.  The school children had all written to thank us for the plants, each member of the gardening club had signed the letter.  I was slightly taken back and felt very happy that something I had done without thought of reward had been so sincerely received. 
It took me back to my school days and our next door neighbours patiently teaching me about gardening and instilling a passion for plants.  Their garden was well tended and carefully considered, my own little plot was a jumble of colour, textures and a collection of my latest finds.  However that didn't matter,  it was a starting block and I rather feel that the children who took the time to thank me for just 3 plants I gave, have found a starting block in the lady who approached me at Malvern.

Because I know that they are really keen to make the most of their garden, Sean and I will be sorting through our bags and packets of half used or forgotten seed as soon as the nursery closes to send to them.  If you have any spare packets or half packets and would like to pass them on please let us know.


Wild Somerset Child said...

Hi Paul, I'll read your post later but just wanted to let you know that I have put a link to your website on my own blog - just posted.

Claire Potter said...

I have far to many seeds for my own uses (which is a disgraceful obsession) - I will have a sort through for you to donate to the school.
Your post illustrates how small seeds (excuse the pun) will grow into a web of interconnected and beautiful results.
CJ x

Chloe Appleton said...

Hi Paul, Im sure my husband & I have plenty of unused seeds gathered over the years! Not sure how usueful they will be but I will have a rummage in the potting shed and see what I can find.

Paul Hervey-Brookes said...

Hello Thank you both, once you have had a chance to rummage through please let me know and I will organise a way to connect your seeds with the school.

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