I spent the day at the Chelsea Flower Show talking live on BBC Radio 4, doing interviews and photo shoots with the Guardian, Telegraph and Reuters. I guided them around the garden that my gardening group ‘Grounded and Scruffy’ had built within the largest show garden ever made at Chelsea.
The garden has been designed, built and the plants grown by 500 ex-homeless people and prisoners from around the country. They are all members of various gardening groups, with the common theme that gardening has given us a life, and the chance to show the world that we ex-homeless, having suffered drug, alcohol and mental health problems, myself included, are stars.
And I hope that everyone involved in this project are flying as high as I am, naturally, as we won a silver medal. What a buzz – not drugs or alcohol but the euphoria of a natural high – the best drug in the world.
Thanks from all of us to the Eden project, and all of their gardeners that helped to make this happen, especially Paul Stone the boss of the project.
Now that chapter in our lives is over, it’s back to tilling the earth and growing herbs and veg.
The coldest spring in years is over, summer is here, the earth is warm, and the ever increasing sunny days mean it’s the perfect time of the year to decide what you want to grow and eat.
Whether you have a garden or pots on a balcony, window ledge, or borrow someone’s garden that doesn’t have the passion that you have, get sowing.
Beetroot, onions, lettuce, salad leaves, rocket, carrots, you have plenty of time. Try planting your pumpkins, squashes, courgettes, next to blocks of sweetcorn, and runner beans in the middle. They will grow up the sweetcorn, their roots putting nitrogen into the soil, to feed the pumpkins and corn. The large leaves of the pumpkins or squashes will shade the ground from weeds and help to conserve moisture.
Published in The Big Issue, June 2010