Ellen Mary is a garden-focused TV presenter and columnist for Places & Faces and Feast Norfolk. Possessing an unrivalled passion for nature and wildlife gardening, Ellen is also the Wildlife gardening writer for the Norfolk Wildlife Trust. Ellen’s down her allotment whenever she can and is always on hand to help with any gardening questions. Today, she tells us about the importance of city gardening…
No Fear Gardening
I set up No Fear Gardening after reading with huge interest, social media talk about how horticulture needs to get ‘down with the kids’. I agree with the concept, but what didn’t sit well with me was the disregard of the older generation. Horticulture is like any other industry, we are competing in an ageing world where there are skill shortages. It’s not just that we want the younger generation to take an interest in gardening, we need them to.
But we can’t do that without those who have shaped horticulture for generations and have an immense knowledge and skills base. Horticulture needs a succession plan, just like any other business. The focus should be on bringing people together, not pushing them apart. We have many rural gardening clubs which are fantastic, but apart from the hard working and great community groups and gardens, there are actually few gardening clubs that are dedicated to urban gardening. This is what No Fear Gardening is all about.
The purpose of No Fear Gardening is to link up people within urban environments. To break down barriers, pass on knowledge and have some fuss free gardening fun! It’s about looking at ways horticulture impacts our lives, sometimes without us even realising it! And linking it in with both traditional gardening methods, the arts and education across the ages in a way that attracts people into the industry.
Bringing gardening knowledge into urban environments opens up horticulture to many more people and is an essential aspect that can only enhance urban living. We just make it fun, uncomplicated, easy going and friendly. Of course, we are always looking for more people to join in so if anyone is interested in opening up a No Fear group with full support, get in touch! To get a feel for No Fear Gardening take a look at the YouTube video above of one of our gin tasting nights.
No Fear Gardening: Six Months on…
Only six months after No Fear started, more groups are opening up across the UK. It’s amazing, and has happened purely from word of mouth and social media. It was apparent as soon as we started just how many others are interested in urban gardening, but need some help on where to start. I’ve learnt very quickly that bringing people who are interested in gardening together is all we need to do! Gardeners love to talk gardens and enjoy imparting knowledge and experience. And if you sprinkle a little bit of fun into the mix, a whole new generation can have that spark ignited.
Its been important to introduce speakers and activities that are different each month. And who give a topic thats interesting to different needs and levels of experience. Our most successful meet up so far was a night of gin tasting in the City with a fantastic gardener and blogger. This blogger talked about the botanicals in each gin and how to grow or forage for them. We had so many budding gardeners come along, it was clear that looking at gardening in a different way was imperative to making this a success and reaching new people. Everyone who I have spoken to who are now part of No Fear all want to make a difference in some way to their own lives or to others. Thats what horticulture can do. The impact No Fear can have in cities and towns across the UK is immense and I am so excited about reaching new people to help green up our urban spaces.
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