Monday, 11 November 2013

Passing on the joy of gardening

Have you noticed?  Change is in the air.  Just 3 years ago the Association of Gardens Trusts (AGT) joined with other concerned organisations to discuss ways in which government and society could be encouraged to wake up to the importance of gardens and gardening.  A year later, Chris Beardshaw, speaking at the Institute of Horticulture AGM, reminded the gardening world of its responsibility to pass on the joy of plants and gardening.  Today, more and more individuals and organisations are getting the message and are joining in the debate.  They're asking questions and they're asking them loudly.

(copyright - Liz Ware)
An important trigger has been the recent RSPB research project.  It looked at levels of connection between the UK's children and nature.  The results were predictable.  More hopeful has been the widespread reaction to the report.  In its wake comes 'Project Wild Thing' - a film with a mission - to encourage all of us, but families in particular, to 'swap screen time for wild time'.

As a recent article in The Guardian pointed out, all the indications are that this isn't just another 'protest' film that will disappear without trace in a month or two.  It's backed up by a 'Wild Network' of charities committed to getting people outside.

In a similar vein, Kitchen Garden Magazine has just reported on a new television series that begins in December. Almost every garden 'celebrity' that you can think of will be encouraging the population of Britain to get outside and get growing.  The message will soon become too big to ignore!

Spreading 'the joy' of connecting to nature can be done on so many levels and in so many ways.  Californian garden designer Topher Delaney endeavours to encourage change in 'one person at a time'.

(copyright - Liz Ware)
As I watch the wide range of articles flooding in for next year's AGT Yearbook and read about the very many projects with which the County Gardens Trusts are involved, it strikes me that our approach is similar to that of Topher Delaney.  Somewhere, beyond all the noisy (and necessary) publicity, the CGTs continue protecting designed gardens and landscapes.  We go on educating and offering help to anyone who needs it.  In common with many other small charities, quietly and without a fuss, we're spreading the joy of gardening, just as we've always done, one project at a time.

 Perhaps the rest of the world is finally catching up!

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