Celebrating Our Natural Affinity with the Garden
As spring makes its final preparations for summer, May is a month made resplendent by fresh green growth and bright blooms appearing throughout the garden. This year in particular, as many of us have found ourselves connecting ever more with nature during the lockdowns, it offers an abundance of opportunities to pause and savour all that’s on offer. As we do so, we may find that we begin simply to breathe differently just for being outdoors, as we take in the scent of the freshly mown grass or the displaced bark of the woodland floor underfoot. Or that we listen more intently to better hear the song of a faraway bird, or the purposeful buzz of a nearby pollinating bee, discovering as we do so that our affinity for such pleasures nurtures us just as a cup of freshly picked mint tea infuses us with the very taste of nature itself.
Here at The Garden Gate we’ve begun to construct together on a big pin board a map of the garden showing all of our individual favourite spots that resonate most with each of us. As it emerges, it provides us with a way of communicating and sharing with each other those things that matter most. By mutually appreciating the garden in this way it helps us all to see things afresh and shift our own perspectives to embrace different insights and benefits we might otherwise miss. It’s certainly interesting to see what everyone comes up with!
Much further afield in Japan, the celebration of one natural phenomenon in particular has taken on the form of the national Hanami Festival that is typically held from March to May, depending on the weather and location, to honour the traditional custom of appreciating the annual beauty of cherry blossom (sakura). Here in Kent, Brogdale Farm near Faversham is home to the national fruit collection and is one of the only places in the UK to celebrate Hanami. Yet wherever you are and however many trees and varieties of blossom there are to take in, the simple truth is that if you tilt your head back and look skywards through a blossoming tree, it is likely to do wonders for your sense of wellbeing. Happy gardening!