Build a relationship with nature: Sow a love for gardening

Michael D. Higgins and Sabina Higgins were presented with a bouquet of wildflowers and a packet of pollinator-friendly flower seeds to thank him for the work he does highlighting biodiversity loss. Picture: Gary O'Neill

The Bloom garden festival, which opened in Dublin’s Phoenix Park yesterday, celebrates just one of the positive ways in which we interact with the natural world. 

Despite that, it is not necessary to be one of Europe’s newly-elected Greens to suggest that we get far more from our relationship with nature than we give in return.

One exhibit, an underwater garden supported by Bord Iascaigh Mhara in a most imaginative initiative, underlines this lopsided relationship. 

It highlights the threat posed to our seas by an ever-growing tide of plastic waste flowing from our disposable lifestyles. 

Another message-in-a-garden entry comes from a dementia-inspired project recreating a 1950s garden, Memories are Made of This. 

Intended to stir fading memories by recreating the kind of garden older gardeners may have aspired to earlier in their lives, it recognises that age and its challenges dilute even the warmest memories. 

This garden may help some reconnect with a joyous past as well as encouraging others to plant gardens that do much more than just look splendid. 

There seems too a natural, real-world symmetry around the idea of growth running parallel to inevitable decline.

In a few weeks’ time, some parents will wonder how they might occupy children freed from classrooms for the summer months. 

If possible, what better gift could there be that sowing a love for gardening — a garden is, after all, for life.

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