Goodbye and Hello

When we said goodbye to 2020 and hello to 2021, it didn’t magically change anything. Some see the end of 2020 as something to celebrate, but the year itself didn’t have anything to do with all the tragedies which happened, most of that was people. Bombings and shootings all caused by people and the pandemic was spread by people, so 2020 is not to blame for any of it. If blame could be assigned, the list would be endless but we go into 2021 in the same state as we left 2020. It just signals the start of new beginnings.

Have we learned anything though? We have to ask that because it hasn’t been all doom and gloom. More people have discovered nature, time with their families, time with their pets, new hobbies and have achieved a lot more in life than they ever would if it hadn’t been for lockdown.

I made a decision to change my way of gardening, for various reasons but the extra time under lockdown gave me the inspiration to make that move, otherwise I may have dithered for another year or at worst, not at all.

As a container gardener, it meant lifting and moving heavy containers and bending down to work on them. Back problems meant there were times my back was screaming at me to stop. I realised I was lifting and moving heavy containers which were getting beyond my capabilities. With lockdown, there was nobody to help, so in an interest of self-preservation, I decided to have raised beds. A friend had started square foot gardening and once I realised the principle of it, I felt that was the way to go. Instead of a multitude of pots which needed replenishing almost every year, I could have more produce, with less work and after the initial spend, there would be very little needed for running costs. Having the raised beds, raised off the ground would make my back happy.

Added to all that, I put excess plants on a Share Shelf in the front garden for people to help themselves or leave their excess plants. That was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. The shelving was at the wall where people passed by and I could safely chat to them from the garden if they came by looking for plants. Garden centres were closed at that time so some local people offered plants for sale and the money went to local covid support schemes. Children were interested in growing and it was amazing the interest they had in trying to grow something themselves. In fact, I was surprised at how much the community was coming together and helping each other in the time of crisis.

When lockdown was partially lifted, people started going back to work and mixing with families, it all changed again. Neighbours still look out for people isolating and help out with shopping etc. People are getting busy once again with their own lives. For gardeners here in the UK, it’s the month for planning and frenzied seed shopping. Many will have already started sowing seed.

The number of newcomers to gardening is encouraging. The covid vaccine is rolling out and hopefully rather than mourn the loss of businesses, we will be celebrating the birth of new ones. Perhaps all the good wishes for a Happy New Year will come to fruition and with time and patience, we will make 2021 indeed, a Happy New Year.

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