For Creative Counsellors Wellbeing Month (August), I would like to share my passion for gardening with you. So I invite you to come with me as I take you on a journey of my self-discovery through gardening. I’ve always pottered about in the garden and if you ask me if I am interested in gardening, I will say a definite no, but I have enjoyed growing my own food produce especially during this time of the pandemic so maybe that NO might be changing to a YES!
It began last year with some simple tomato plants that I bought at the local garden centre and this year has progressed to a few more vegetables. Having something to focus on and look after has given me a focus and interest in a time where I have spent a lot of it on my own. I live by myself and do not have close family near by and so growing vegetables has not only been good to keep me motivated but it’s also given me a connection both with myself and with others. I’ve enjoyed sharing my homegrown produce with others either physically or by photos. It’s been a form of self-care for me and an opportunity to build my confidence and self-esteem. Here are a few photos of the produce that I have grown.
The next image is the beginnings of a pepper in January 2021. It took the right environment and care before I saw this baby pepper begin to grow. If I think about myself this year compared to many years ago I am very different. Being part of the Creative Counsellors Community has really helped me to come out of myself and feel part of something for me, not me as a volunteer or me as a counsellor or even me as a Brownie and Cub leader but ME! Engaging regularly in the weekly peer reflections with Creative Counsellors has been a challenge but little by little, just like the pepper I have begun to grow and show more of myself.
Only one of the pepper plants survived but I brought it inside and began to see the beginnings of a pepper beginning to grow and if I left the peppers a bit longer then they transformed themselves into red peppers.
It made me think about how sometimes we need that extra bit of attention, love, and care before we can begin to thrive. The pepper plant really made me think about my own journey.
Beetroot & radishes.
Now growing beetroot and radishes caused some hilarity as I planed them side by side so when I picked what I thought was a beetroot turned out to be a rather large purple radish!
Here is the actual beetroot and which I am very proud of. They may be little but they are mine and I grew them!
All in all, growing fruit and vegetables has had a very positive impact on my mental health especially at a time where our normal has been taken away. It’s brought me a sense of achievement and stability and got me through what has been a turbulent year and a half.
Cara Cramp is a Child & Adolescent Creative Arts Counsellor, Creative Supervisor and has her own private practice.