What’s a garden?

Gardens aren’t just for gardeners – gardens are for everyone.

What is a garden? Well, one often used definition is that of “an enclosed space near a house used for the planned growing of flowering plants, fruit or vegetables”. However, I have a few issues with that. For a start half the gardens in Settle aren’t anywhere near the house they belong to. Then again many gardens aren’t really planned in anyway – they have just sort of evolved. Gardens can be near a house, or not. They can be tightly planned and controlled, or not. They can be large or small, private or public, formal or informal, but the one thing most gardens are is contained or enclosed, even if the extent of the garden is a pot on the windowsill!

What I like to think of a garden as is an outside room. You can do anything in your room that the weather, space, and perhaps legalities also permit. In lovely warm conditions there is nowhere finer to sit and ponder than in a garden. Where else can you see wildlife up close and personal? Exercise is better outdoors, and less repetitive if it can be combined with keeping the garden tidy. Filling a vase is more satisfying when you do it from the garden not the supermarket, and eating fresh fruit and veg from your own outdoor pantry really just can’t be beaten. Cooking and eating outdoors is one of life’s simplest, but greatest pleasures. Go on, get out in a garden today!

June 26, 2016 — Andrew Lay

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