Children and gardens are labours of love

It’s July. Summertime. School’s out and the garden’s in – for many of us, a time of anticipation, jubilation and, unavoidably, perspiration. The analogies to be drawn between children and plants are inexhaustible. To begin with, they both come to us from nurseries (or do they start in beds….?). Perhaps I’d better stop before things get out of hand! Let’s just say, in essence, children and gardens are labours of love that draw from deep wells of attention and affection.

The child who grows like a weed, grows up and moves out, leaves us with time for a different kind of nurturing. It’s no wonder that so many empty-nesters turn to gardening. Yes, it’s a matter of having more time in our lives, but it’s also an outlet for our continuing nurturing instinct.

Comparing plants with children, plants may not always do what you want, but at least they don’t talk back. And if they do start to talk back, you’ll know that it’s time to move on to a whole new phase of your life.

Harry Jongerden is a Garden Designer/Horticulturist at the Royal Botanical Gardens.

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