Just what is Eat my Garden?

Had a near nervous breakdown a couple of weeks ago when I was reminded that I was due to give a ‘lecture’ at Tatton garden society. I had promised to ‘do’ power point then spent the whole winter season refusing to get to grips with it. Less than a week before the ‘lecture’ Frank got in touch to tell me that the society had recently enjoyed a talk by Chelsea Gold medalist Cleve West and were now looking forward to my practical advice on how to grow your own produce creatively in a domestic garden…….with pictures. So….NO PRESSURE THEN!

Sue Beesley of Lodge Lane nurseries is a wonderful woman, not least because she agreed to teach me how to use a projector and lend me her own for the forthcoming event. Under her watchful eye (and Daves pasta) I mastered the art of powerpoint and felt confident, even gleeful about the lecture.

When I arrived at Tatton I followed a lady who announced to the park keeper that she was attending the TGS but abandoned this when she headed to the farm??????????? Instead I collared an unsuspecting man in the car park who did not hesitate to climb in my car to show me the way!

I have to admit that I was disappointed to hear that Lady Cholmondely had sent her apologies (not to me, to TGS) and was unable to attend. How cool would that have been! Anyway I was about to take the floor when Frank asked me, ” What is Eat my Garden?”.

Eat my Garden was my first back to back at the RHS flowershow Tatton in 2006. It was the culmination of the completion of a diploma in garden design, a burning desire and a dare, absolutely the right reasons to lay ones stall out in front of the horticultural worlds elite! Even more so whenGardeners Worlddecided to follow your every move.

Eat my Garden aimed to show that a productive garden can also be a beautiful one. With an eclectic mix of edible plants grown in a ‘traditional’ garden setting it did just that and was awarded a silver gilt medal. Unlike most show gardens this exhibit didn’t promote my skills as a garden designer it promoted a lifestyle and led to several articles in lifestyle magazines including my regular column in Cheshire Life.

Then Eat my Garden became a nursery, a dream come true. But, after a year trading in a rented greenhouse on some one elses nursery, my castles in the sky came crashing down. I can’t thank my wonderful sister Sarah Anderson enough for getting me out of there when she did. The day I left I was greeted by a row of sheds built across the front of my greenhouse, erected in such a way that nobody would ever find my nursery again. If I hadn’t already made the decision to leave I would have broken down and cried.

Christian at Kiwi Nurseries agreed to rent me the floor of his polytunnels to house my herbs. He uses the top for hanging baskets, I use the bottom, perfect.  Or so I thouht but I agreed to work in his nursery and as a result I lost mine. Kippin ‘ on th efloor of someone elses place is never home and Eat my Garden is now, as a result, homeless and now we are homeless.

So what do I do? The dream is not gone it burns brightly in my minds eye, it makes my heart sing.

So many people are urging me to carry on and I will. I need to find a space, build a polytunnel, take control of my own destiny. The sheer joy of watching my little seedlings emerge, nurturing them and enthusing others to touch, taste and feel thses incredible products of nature drives me on. I want to attend the flowershows, build my displays because I am a ‘creative’, develop a mail order business even though I am a technophobe and haven’t a clue how to do this. I want to have open days, tomato days, chilli festivals, go to food festivals with dried herbs. My castles are still there I just need to develop a strategy, a plan, take the first tentative steps and breathe new life into the dream that still is Eat my Garden.

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