It’s absolutely months, in fact over a year since I last made an entry in the nurturenature blog. One of my aspirations for 2019 is to make more regular entries so that anyone interested can follow what’s happening in the garden by reading the blog. (Though hopefully they will come and visit in person as well). I will also try and post photos of how things are looking both here on the blog and perhaps more frequently on Instagram – @nurturenature . Despite the fact that it is winter the garden is actually looking pretty good which makes everyone who works on it feel positive about its development.The fact that there are a lot of evergreen shrubs gives it structure even at this time of year, an important goal when I was designing the garden. It means it is still a peaceful, (if cold), place to just sit even in the winter. First signs of spring are beginning to emerge with hellebores in flower in the hellebore bed and various pots around the garden. Bulbs are beginning to push their noses above the soil and by the gate snow drops are in evidence (actually in the neighbours bit). Sweet peas planted in the autumn are being pinched and getting ready for potting on and I have just ordered potatoes and onions ready for spring planting. Tomato and chilli seed planting in heated propagators is planned for next week to maximise their growing season and optimise the crop yield.
Application for charitable status is nearly complete – I just need to check a few details with the Charities Commission. That has been quite a job so fingers crossed that we get approval first time round – we seem to fit the requirements but it may be that we have to make some amendments; we will have to wait and see. For now we carry on as a not for profit body.
Lots of exciting things planned for 2019 in terms of events; more mindfulness and creativity days building on the successful days we ran last year, a writing for health day, nature based make and do days in the garden providing the opportunity to be creative with nature using leaves, flowers etc from the garden with guidance from a facilitator, poetry workshops and of course plant sales and open days. As well as these one off events opportunities to spend time in the garden on a regular basis will be made available to benefit individuals with chronic physical disease, those living with or after cancer, individuals suffering from mental health problems and anxiety etc. They may benefit in a range of ways from simply sitting or walking enjoying the peace, to learning how to propagate and helping grow both edibles and flowers in the garden or weeding and digging and many other garden jobs and activities. The benefits of all aspects of gardens for both mental and physical health are increasingly recognised and I remain passionate about the creation and ongoing development of the nurturenature healing garden.
Big projects that we are trying to raise some money towards include building a wheelchair walkway to provide wheelchair access to the bottom part of the garden including the culvert which is a particularly tranquil area to sit and listen to the water running. The walkway has been designed and its position planned and hopefully should be in place by the time of the first plant sale/open day in early May. Confirmed dates of all the events will be posted here as well as being advertised locally. Buying plants is not restricted to plant sale days. We are very happy to sell plants anytime if there is someone suitable about (i.e. someone who can give advice about the plants) or if you ring in advance to arrange to visit and look at the plants/garden. Not really the time for planting yet but the days are lengthening after the winter solstice and before we know it the soil will have warmed and it will be time to start planting hardy perennials for early flowering.
I had a lovely visit from Julia who knew about us from carol singing here (Huge thanks to Hunshelf singers; it was wonderful) and her son, Will at the end of last week. I am working on establishing a Japanese garden in part of the nurturenature garden as somewhere predominantly green as a tranquil (“Zen”) area for people to sit and be calm and peaceful. Will had just spent 4 months working in gardens in Japan as part of his work with the RHS and it was fascinating to hear from him about Japanese gardens in detail. The precision with which they’re created sounded absolutely unbelievable. I don’t think we will be able to replicate that precision but implementing the general principles of lots of greenery with only a few plants that flower and rocks and moss as part of the garden should be possible. It is a very exciting project and will be adjacent to the wheelchair walkway.
As you can see the nurturenature healing garden remains a work in progress but feedback from visitors and passers-by is already very positive and we are hoping for a good year both in terms of developing the garden further and importantly using it to promote well being for individuals who would benefit from it in the local community.
January 13th 2019