My Space: 'The sheer joy I get from gardening is like no other’

Growing pots of wonders on a patio and flowers in the garden can bring you a world of satisfaction, says Jack Jeremiah White
My Space: 'The sheer joy I get from gardening is like no other’

The Himalayan blue poppy.

Spring is here and with it comes the glorious stretch and climbing temperatures. For me, it’s quickly become my favourite time of the year.

I could go as far as to say that gardening saved my life last April. Like the majority of people, I was working from home due to that which shall not be named.

Jack Jeremiah White.

Jack Jeremiah White.

Every week quickly became one grey pile of mulch that was separated by takeaways each Saturday (and some Fridays) — the least I deserved, I thought at the time. (I’m still trying to lose the weight two lockdowns later.)

My gardening passion started very innocently while glancing through the online Aldi special-buy catalogue — a guilty pleasure in its own right — when I saw the most stunning red Japanese maple tree priced at a salivating €14.99.

A Japanese maple in a garden setting. Pictures: iStock

A Japanese maple in a garden setting. Pictures: iStock

Lockdown weeks had become grey piles of mulch separated by takeaways each Saturday

Although this was a few days prior to its sale date, I was already worried that I would arrive at an empty shelf. 

On the fateful day, I launched myself from my desk at lunchtime and a completely unexpected and often worrying obsession (to others, not me) started.

That Japanese maple led to six more Japanese maples, three magnolia trees, 12 dahlia varieties, wildflower seed bombs and a fern. And every single cent was worth it.

I was far from a pro when I began (my first maple became extremely sun-scorched in May; it prefers shady spots) but I learned quickly from my mistakes and my increasing fascination made it fun and absolutely necessary to learn everything I could in my free time because I wanted to — no, I needed to.

The joy you can get from gardening is like no other, shaping a forgotten tree to make it more pleasing to the eye, growing flowers and plants from seeds, waiting for dahlias to pop up from below the soil (you’ll find yourself checking every morning until that magical day). 

It’s hard to understand until you do it yourself.

Paeonia Itoh in a spring garden.

Paeonia Itoh in a spring garden.

So, what’s stopping you? A few small pot-filled wonders on a patio can bring you a world of joy and satisfaction. 

Most local garden centres are currently taking orders and delivering. I would definitely recommend starting off with some dahlia tubers or other flower bulbs for that initial spark of accomplishment and wonder.

Also, there’s no stopping you from potting up small trees if you’re limited on space (four of my Japanese maples are in pots and I’m planning on potting my swamp cypress soon); just make sure you water and feed your potted friends regularly. 

I prefer pots because it’s fun to shop around and they add to your garden vibe, whatever that may be.

Chippendale roses.

Chippendale roses.

It's a hobby that's made me feel alive, well and happy

This year I’ve gone classic yet weird in my plans with Chippendale roses, an Itoh peony, Himalayan blue poppy and a swamp cypress,

Gardening gives me a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment. Instead of dwelling on my current situation, I’ve found focus, motivation and above all, happiness with my plants, trees and flowers. 

It’s a hobby that’s made me feel alive, well and happy. 

In fact, it’s proven that gardening has countless mental health benefits including an increase in serotonin levels and is an amazing stress reliever. 

I never had much interest before Covid sent me home — but once you give it a go you might just become flora-obsessed like me.

Jack Jeremiah White.

Jack Jeremiah White.

  • Jack Jeremiah White is based in Cork City and is studying TV Production at Munster Technological University, Cork, and is a graduate of University College Cork’s Arts International (French and English Literature) degree course

  • Got an experience or home or garden spot would like to share in My Space? Email eve.kelliher@examiner.ie

More in this section

Lunchtime
News Wrap

A lunchtime summary of content highlights on the Irish Examiner website. Delivered at 1pm each day.

Sign up
Revoiced
Newsletter

Our Covid-free newsletter brings together some of the best bits from irishexaminer.com, as chosen by our editor, direct to your inbox every Monday.

Sign up