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Urban Gardening Adventures Vol. 1
So I am from Salford, which for those of you that would like help with your geographical bearings is a city next to Manchester. We brought you Shelagh Delaney and Paul Scholes, both famous for very different things. I now live in Stalybridge, which is famous for being part of the setting for the movie ‘Yanks’ which starred Richard Gere (they celebrate this every year). Anyway, let’s not go off track. I will start in the madness which is late 2004, post-GCSEs.
In September 2004, I began working for my uncle as an apprentice plasterer – a job which was tough and involved lots of long hours. Some days I would leave the house at 06:30am and return past 8:30pm. It was one of the hardest periods in my life to date. I felt like I needed something more, something to help distract me from my chaotic work life (in the few hours I had to myself between shifts) so I would find myself initially going into the back garden to cut and water the grass, maintaining it to a level that I have never reached since. Honestly, I actually don’t like grass and would prefer not to have any in the garden.
Over the coming years, I would transform a modest plot with only a few trees and rose bushes into a family garden with interest all year round. I used to buy plants from all over – the internet, garden centres, supermarkets, plant sales, cuttings.. Wherever I could get my hands on a plant to improve my garden, I would! Spending my very last penny on the garden most months.
In the midst of my love affair with gardening, when I was 19, my granddad died. He was the head gardener of a well-known park in Salford. I never spoke to him about gardening, I was too embarrassed due to my lack of knowledge – something I regret. I have since taken ownership of all of his gardening books.
In February 2014, nearly, but not quite 10 years since I began my working life as a plasterer, I moved away from home and into a 2nd-storey apartment with my girlfriend who had recently moved back home from Uni in Bath. We had no garden. Someone who is obsessed with gardening, who used to go in the garden at least once a day for the previous decade, to live somewhere without a garden is soul-destroying. Unimaginable.
I had to adapt my style of gardening, I needed something green which I could look after. We bought a few house plants which didn’t survive, as I overwatered – 2 Bonsais likewise. Then one day we were walking around a garden centre in Lymm where a man had a little stall with these huge cacti, which had all begun flowering. We were transfixed, and promptly we bought one. This was the catalyst for our cacti collection!
I now enjoy creating cacti and bonsai gardens alongside up-cycling old pots and items from around the house. My girlfriend and I are working towards buying a house with a garden but in the meantime we’re really enjoying indoor gardening. As my urban adventure series unfolds I’m hoping to inspire people in a similar situation to me and show that growing indoors is both enjoyable and rewarding.
Striving for a garden of my own.
Check back weekly for more Urban Gardening Adventures from @KyleLeonard
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