Hartley Magazine

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Love the little things

jean vernon 2

Has the world gone bonkers? Are we totally brainwashed by capitalist adaptations of age-old celebrations?

Think Valentines Day? And you may just start to understand where I’m coming from, but it’s not the only hijacked ‘festival’ in our calendar. Don’t get me started on Christmas and Easter!

Everywhere you look at the moment are adverts for buquets of red roses, luxurious perfumes and indulgent chocolates. All supposedly just what you have to buy to prove your love/commitment or devotion to that special someone in your life and all at elevated and vastly inflated cost. Apparently we Brits will be spending around one billion pounds this year on Valentines Day cards, gifts, treats and days out. Do we really need these excesses?

Bouquets of red roses, from goodness knows where, sprayed with who knows what exactly and nurtured by a workforce we cannot begin to imagine their circumstances. All in the name of love?  It’s a marketing ploy that has taken root and grown in our lifetime to huge proportions. One billion pounds?? In the UK alone? How much worldwide?

Well we fell for that one hook line and sinker.

Time to think again and vote with our feet I think. We can champion locally and UK grown flowers for those that want to join the throng. But why not dare to love the little things? Let’s make a rustic pot of Tete a Tete or crocus bulbs the iconic gift for Valentine’s Day, or a packet of seeds of a favourite herb, flower or even a vegetable. And while you are at it, why not hand make a card for this Roman Saints Day which actually marks the day he is said to have been buried. Not that romantic when you think about it.

By all means treat a loved one. But do you need to be brainwashed to do it on the 14th Feb? Be yourself, don’t be a sheep, and do your own thing in your own way. What about an IOU note for a day out when prices haven’t been hiked by 50% or more. Or a garden plant that will flower year after year and last longer than that box of chocolates. Or a rose bush with flowers saturated in divine perfume all summer, producing dozens of cut flowers for the house and a natural aroma from nature? Or a walk out in nature where the snowdrops are glistening in the late winter light. The best things in life are free and if you have a garden you are already blessed in so many ways. Share it.

So if February is reputedly the month of love, then ask yourself what do you love about your garden?

jean vernon

What do you treasure? What couldn’t you live without? Isn’t it time that you actually thought about how much your greenhouse and garden mean to you too?

Every bud that bursts in spring stirs my heart. Every bird that flits across the garden, hopping from stem to stem with its acrobatic grace brings a smile to my face. Every scuffle in the undergrowth that denotes a mummy blackbird foraging for food in the leaves lifts my spirit. Every buzz of a bee feeding at a winter flower fills my heart with joy. Every ray of sunshine lighting up the peeling bark on the birch trees and every leaf of winter salad picked from the frozen greenhouse planters is a precious present.

Treasure what you have. The precious present is not some extravagant valentine’s gift, created at what cost, we know not; it’s the now. This moment in time. It’s that magical moment when you take time to enjoy the minutia of life, whatever that is. You can opt out of the rat race, you don’t have to conform. Spend a little more time with the things that you love and treasure every special minute. Remember what makes you feel good and go out and strive to feed your soul. Ignore the pressures of marketing gurus and peers to compete in this unspoken competition to ‘prove your affection’, resist the need to engage with this capitalist brainwash and do things your way, in your time, to your rules. Starting with your greenhouse and your garden. Enjoy.