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I Really Like Gardening


I have always had an appreciation for nature. At the beginning of lockdown in 2020, having very quickly moved back home from Reading to Yorkshire, I found myself yearning naturally for the great outdoors. For the first 6 months of lockdown, I barely left the house. When we did leave, my family would often make excursions to our local plant nursery, located near our local farm, local farm shop and a very rural stretch of grassy green land and a country road. It was easily travelled on foot, and the garden centre was so big and mostly outside, so we didn’t have to worry about COVID. It was nice to be reacquainted with the flowers and trees.

With myself not being very strong naturally and living with disabilities, I have found heavy labour incredibly difficult in the past. I had preferred to enjoy the produce of other people’s gardening rather than my own, especially my dad who is good at mowing grass and knows how to look after plants. However, with not much to do during lockdown once my dissertation was written and submitted, a whacking 50 foot back garden that we hadn’t paid much attention to since my sister and I were children, and a growing desire to not be limited by my disabilities, I decided to brighten the place up with an assortment of pansies on the request of my mother.

A colourful garden provided a safe escape from my bedroom, where there was no fear of passing on COVID to my vulnerable family. I was able to enjoy my post-dissertation time relaxing on a fold out chair and getting sunburned (an inevitable occurrence thanks to my whiter than white complexion, go raibh maith agat Éire). I had discovered a love for house- plants (especially succulents) during university, and I wanted to continue that with a huge assortment of plants now that I was likely to be living at home for the next few years.

As time went on and lockdowns eased, I was still very anxious about catching COVID and infecting my vulnerable family. My partner and I, instead of going out to busy cities and packed shops, opted for day trips into the lake district. We would drive all the way out to the most remote of Yorkshire moors, walk miles around lakes and forests, feed lots of ducks and have lots of picnics. Despite living in Yorkshire for a decade, I had never been able to experience the natural side of the counties like this. My family, being very poor throughout my childhood, never had a car, and still don’t. We all love walks, especially when there’s a historical ground to learn about, but we had always been limited to what was within walking distance of our house or how far we could afford to go on public transport. My partner driving me to all sorts of natural places was alien, and it still feels alien now. I am constantly grateful to have access to the luxury of driving now.

All these nature excursions made me appreciate my home county more than I ever did before lockdown. Myself, being born and raised in Kent in the south of England, and then raised further in Yorkshire in the north of England, I never felt at home in my tiny village. I unfortunately suffered profuse bullying throughout my entire school career due to my southern accent, which not only left me essentially mute for a time, but which made me long to move to the city-scape south, especially London. I even chose a southern university specifically with the plan to never return to the north and get away from the feeling that I didn’t belong. If it weren’t for the lockdowns, I would have stayed there. I had grand plans at the time.

The Harvest of 2021

I wanted to become more familiar with nature, as there’s only so much walking and research into the science of nature you can do before you are inevitably left with one thing: engaging directly by learning how to grow and care for plants. I started off with repotting some already- grown pansies, learning which pots are best for which types of flowers, and just focused on brightening up the garden. My sister (who is also a writer and trusted proofreader) helped me with the first batch.

Once that was done, I wanted to try growing some easy fruit and vegetables. My parents bought me a greenhouse, in which I started to grow tomatoes, bell peppers, strawberries, white onions, red onions and spring onions. I’m a big fan of onions and my family uses a lot of them, so it made sense to focus on them for the first year. Although they didn’t grow as big as normal onions, I was able to harvest many bitesize ones!

The onions went on to be cooked mostly in a beef and red wine pie, as I substituted my tiny onions for shallots. The spring onions went into various salads. Unfortunately, the tomatoes and bell pepper failed that year, and the strawberry plants grew well, but they didn’t produce any fruit (they’re still alive today!). It has become apparent that I seem to grow vegetables better than fruits, as in subsequent years I struggled to get anything out of the fruit plants. Very sadge rip froot.

The Harvest of 2022

After having a relatively successful harvest in 2021, I went full swing with a healthy assortment of vegetables in 2022. I was tired of being only an onion farmer- this year I was going to have a full and diverse harvest.


I was absolutely desperate to grow carrots. I love carrots. They seem like a gardening staple to me. I was very happy when they turned out not just edible, but they looked real fucky too.

I have a soft spot for weirdly shaped fruit and vegetables, I find the regular stuff you would find at a supermarket kind of boring. This carrot however, looks like two thighs and a rather large member. Laughing at this carrot was a highlight of 2022.


Growing the broccoli was an emotional rollercoaster. They were a late addition to my garden, only being planted as a sapling in the summer when the plant nursery was selling their remaining vegetables off for cheap. They started off growing very well… until the cabbage white butterflies came. Me in my happy happy way didn’t think anything of it, and was just glad to see some butterflies so close to the house. I didn’t think that they would lay a fuckton of eggs and allow their caterpillar sprog to decimate my entire crop of broccoli AND cauliflower.

My dad and I spent ages removing the caterpillars to a degree of success, but every few hours when we came back, it was like they never left. In the end, I was able to harvest two full heads of broccoli.