Out of lockdown and restrictions, thousands of gardens sprang into being. On windowsills, balconies, in pots, backyards and neglected borders, flowers, fruit and veg took over from moss, twitch and dandelions.
This nation of shopkeepers transformed into a nation of gardeners. Sales of seeds rocketed and viewing figures for Gardeners’ World soared. Children from one to 90-plus pulled on their wellies and dug in to ‘growing their own’. Garden centres, public gardens and open spaces became oases of calm and colour in the chaotic, grey pandemic landscape.
A Royal Horticultural Society survey found that six in 10 people now value their gardens more than they did before lockdown, and that 71% of those questioned confirmed a fact long known to health experts, therapists and seasoned gardeners, namely that their outdoor space improved their physical and mental wellbeing.
A shared interest in gardening is the driving force behind the happy and healthy Rotherham u3a Gardening Group members. During summer, they pick up garden know-how by visiting stately homes, parks and local garden centres, whilst winter months see them talking about and trying out different gardening skills such as taking cuttings, seed collection and growing from seed. As in all 30-plus Rotherham u3a groups, members range from novice to experienced, and learn from each other. All are no longer in full-time employment. That, plus enthusiasm, is all that’s needed to join. New members are always welcome.
Post-restrictions, the Gardening Group is seeking a new leader, the previous one having moved to gardens new. Any interested reader / gardening enthusiast, please note.
For more information about this and about Rotherham u3a generally, please contact Sylvia Duncan on 01709 374841 and / or visit www.u3asites.org.uk/rotherham.