“It simply raises your heart.” Mick Robinson, our Orb gardener is talking about the thrill of seeing the Orb garden leaping into life after his year of hard work. Our garden was made possible by the generous support of Mind through their Ecominds project.
“The first few months were a real struggle – it was just an abandoned mud patch, and all those weeks of snow last winter nearly put the kybosh on it. But just look at how far we’ve come! There’s so much in the garden already to put a little joy into anyone’s life. It’s just lovely to come into. Those poppies over there – they were a happy accident. They just blew in like weeds, now they’ve settled down and made that space their own. We also had some Aquilegia that self-seeded – they were glorious. I’ve collected the seed to save for next year.”
Green, green, green
“Keeping things eco-friendly is a central part of our philosophy. We recycle everything – including things that weren’t always ours to begin with. Our neighbour, the Knaresborough Bowling Club, had some wooden boarding that they didn’t need any more. It’s now doing a great job supporting our raised vegetable beds. Would anyone like an extra lettuce? They’re growing like mad.
It bit me in the bum!
“Of course, sometimes re-cycling can bite you in the bum. We found some heavy duty polythene that looked perfect for the pond we had just dug – until it split at the last minute. Now we need to find some proper butyl lining – which costs money. Still, it gives us the chance to re-think our ideas, and dig a little deeper – which will help us create a home for a wider range of wildlife.”
Talking of wildlife . . .
“Talking of wildlife, that’s just one more thing that makes this job such a joy. We’ve surrounded our fences with a mixture of natural British hedgerow plants – birch, beech, hawthorn, wild rose – which encourages a mixture of natural British wildlife. A young female blackbird has been following me about since the spring, growing bolder every day. Bees are clustering round our borage plants. We’ve seen so many butterflies – Common (or not so common these days) British Blue, Painted Ladies, Red Admirals . . . swifts and swallows are regular visitors. Only yesterday we watched a Red Kite circling over our patch for more than 15 minutes. It didn’t flap its wings once – just coasted. It was such a peaceful thing to see, right here in the middle of Knaresborough, just a few yards from Tesco’s.”
And it’s good for you – scientifically proven
Mick’s been doing a fantastic job. But he could do with some help. And he’s also hit on a real truth about working with growing stuff – it really soothes your soul! There’s increasing evidence of the positive impact of gardening on everybody’s mental health.
Why not come and lend Mick a hand, and test the benefits for yourself as you help others?