With everybody staying at home during the lockdown, we looked at ways to occupy our time and with the weather being so favourable in March and April, many of us spent a lot of our time in any outside space we have.
Jacqui, 50, who lives in Halebank, found a passion for gardening that she never knew she had.
After being placed on furlough, Jacqui decided to spring into action and spruce up the green space outside her apartment – starting on her 50th birthday!
Jacqui explains: “The raised beds were overgrown, it was a mess and really dull looking, but I’ve never had the time or money before. So, when I was furloughed I had the time, and I started it on my 50th birthday because I was upset I wasn’t going away for it as planned, so all my birthday money got spent on plants, tools, and a garden box to keep things in.”
The space now has an abundance of bedding plants and herbs growing, offering Jacqui and neighbours a space to socialise and sit when the weather permits.
“It’s nice seeing it get used. I hadn’t seen my nephews for 3 months during lockdown, so when I was allowed to see them again, I spent the time in the back with them. I have been able to invite my friends and family round without them having to come into the flat, adhering to social distancing guidelines.”
The lockdown period was tough for everyone, but for those with limited space within their home, even harder, so any type of green space became a haven for many. Spending time tending to the space has allowed Jacqui to forge new friendships with her neighbours and escape reality.
“When I first started it, it was to pass the time, then when things started to grow it felt great, so this is when the addiction started, no matter what has happened during the day, when I am out there pottering around, getting nettles and weeds up, you seem to forget your troubles. It really is a feel-good hobby. I only knew my direct neighbour by name but the rest was just a polite hello, but now there is 4 flats out of the 6 that use it and we have all built a friendship. The garden is now my escape from reality. I actually get a bit peeved when I open my curtains of a morning and it’s raining, it’s good because I haven’t got to go out watering, but I also can’t get out to potter. I spend a lot of time just looking at it, amazed what I have done it. Google must be sick of me asking it questions about plants!”.
Since starting to tend to the green space outside her apartment, Jacqui says it’s the best thing she has done for a long time.
Jacqui explains: “I used to look out of my window and think, well it’s not my back so why should I bother. I was so wrong, it is my back, and the rest of the blocks, me starting this has been the best thing I have done for a long long time, I have killed quite a few plants and I’m sure I will kill many more but it’s such an achievement and now I want to be out there as much as possible. Just because it is a shared space doesn’t mean it can’t be nice. I certainly have a new found passion!”.
Now back at work, Jacqui is now spending time before and after work and during the weekends gardening and using the space recreationally. “I sit out now every morning and as soon as I’m home from work, sometime I go out and have a hot choc out there of a night before I go to bed, it’s lovely sitting there when all my solar lights are on”, says Jacqui.
Jacqui is extremely proud of what she has achieved in the space with such a short amount of time and limited budget. She has lots of future plans for the space including painting the fences and raised beds. Jacqui says: “The end result will really be a million percent better than it is now. Me and a neighbour bought a table and chairs between us for the whole block, it’s funny but I kind of feel proud when I see it getting used now, it was so dull before”.
We encourage all customers to take pride in their outdoor spaces. We have been so impressed by the work Jacqui and her neighbours have achieved. We’re looking forward to working with them and other customers to further improve the space and provide assistance.
We run a popular annual customer garden competition which sees green-fingered customers submit their patches. It’s been a popular annual event with customers year in year out, with many entrants coming back with wonderful new displays every year. Jacqui is planning to enter in next year’s competition.