Gardens have never been more important. In these challenging times, they have a vital role to play, both in preserving the health of the environment, and in helping to maintain our own physical and mental well-being.
They offer a sanctuary, a solace to the soul, a place to reflect and contemplate and a haven of peace and beauty in this crazy world. They can also be a focus for your energy, creativity, self-expression and passion.
As Gertrude Jekyll observed, they can be your greatest teacher. If you have a garden, nurture it, value it, embrace it…and it will do the same for you! In these difficult times, it can help to slow you down, teach you to observe and be close to nature. When all around seems chaotic and uncertain, a garden can provide the simple reassurance of being part of nature, and its continuity, with the satisfaction of seeing your guiding hand helping it along.
And gardens are so positive. They can connect you to lost ones whilst helping you to look forward. They are a respite from woes…they build the spirit, for communities, your family, your loved ones or just you.
Each garden, large or small, has its own personality and a real sense of uniqueness. It is why I love Kew and the garden that I created in St. Margaret’s. They are both personal, evolved over many years and they talk to you through touch, smell and sight. The spirit of place is there, to nourish and treasure.
Jill Preston was formerly Director of Communications & Commercial Activities at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and a resident of St. Margarets where she created a lovely garden backing onto the River Crane.