Being all grown up: getting into gardening

By Frank Bolger - Last update

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‘A person who is growing a garden, if he is growing it organically, is improving a piece of the world.’

So said the American poet and academic Wendell Berry. The sentiment implies that no matter how small your space, learning to make the most of what you have can only be a good thing – both in a personal and a public sense – and this is precisely what a course in gardening will teach you to do.

As the record attendance (110,000 people) at last weekend’s Bloom event in Dublin’s Phoenix Park once again showed us, the popularity of gardening in Ireland continues to grow unabated (no pun intended). No doubt such success was partly attributable to the clemency of the weather as the sun came out for all to enjoy without discretion, but the real driving factors behind the event’s success were the artisan foods, organic produce, and the levels of invention and innovation that were on display.

However, gardening is not just about enjoying the fresh, healthy foods that are the spoils of your labour, nor is it even solely about doing your bit for the environment (though such things are of course a large part of its allure); it is also about establishing some connection to land and to the seasons, and it is about creating a space of your own, by your own effort and planning. Indeed, gardening delivers rewards on the practical, creative and personal levels.

Whether you have a windowsill or an acre to work with, Gardening courses will teach you how to prepare the soil and to plant and grow flowers, herbs, fruits and vegetables. Through practical sessions you will learn about chemical-free methods of gardening, including composting, companion planting, mulching, raised beds and containers, weeding, and encouraging wildlife and biodiversity.

It is early in the summer yet, and there is plenty of time to get planting. Good weather seems to make all things possible, and within the soil is the bounty of the new season.

Frank Bolger

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