Home Lifestyle We started gardening as Gen Zs and Millennials – and found a...

We started gardening as Gen Zs and Millennials – and found a community

2
0


A younger generation of gardeners are taking over (Pictures: Getty/Chloe Plumstead/Amy Chapman)

Chloe Plumstead comes from a strong maternal line of gardeners.

Both her mum and her nan are very green-fingered, a trait which she’s inherited – and embraced – in the last few years.

‘The legacy extends further back into my family, always as a hobby rather than a profession,’ Chloe, who is 30 and lives in Ipswich, tells Metro.co.uk.

During her early twenties, when Chloe and her boyfriend were renting a house, they began to experiment with gardening. They quickly fell in love with it, but when they became homeowners, they fell in deeper.

‘My boyfriend and I rented our first home in our early twenties and that’s when I started to experiment a little, but when we bought a house in late 2021 and had a blank slate to learn with, that’s when I really started to fall in love with gardening,’ Chloe muses.

Chloe’s mum and nan are both very green-fingered (Picture: Chloe Plumstead)

From jokes around buying too many plants at the gardening centre to being self-professed plant parents, so many young people – both Gen Zs and Millennials – are waking up to the magic of gardening.

It’s little surprise, too: there are proven mental health benefits to gardening, with research from the Royal Horticultural Society in 2021 finding that those who garden every day have a wellbeing score that is 6.6% higher than those who don’t. Likewise, their stress levels were 4.2% lower.

This is something that Chloe resonates with. Since she’s started gardening, her perspective on life has changed. It allows her to relax and truly get lost in a hobby – something unrelated to work, money, or life’s wider stresses.

‘Gardening brings me a sense of perspective. It forces me to slow down and surrender a little bit of control because though I can influence what happens in my little outdoor space, I’m always at the mercy of nature’s plan,’ Chloe reflects.

‘I’ve also found great relief in making mistakes which don’t matter. I’m not trying to be a perfect gardener; I’m just trying.’

Chloe is now sharing her love of gardening with an online community (Picture: Chloe Plumstead)

There might be a perception that young people don’t enjoy gardening, but Chloe believes this comes down to a lack of exposure.

Raised by her mother and grandmother, she found learning about gardening ‘infectious’ because she could see how ‘rewarding’ it is – as well as the knowledge you can take from making mistakes.

As such, Chloe is now sharing her gardening journey on TikTok, where she’s amassed 13.2K followers and, in doing so, connected with a community.

She’s also written the ‘Get Started Gardening’ guide, passing on her wealth of knowledge to a new, overlooked generation of gardeners – the Gen Z and Millennial Alan Titchmarshes.

‘You can’t garden without doing things wrong, and I think people can sometimes not know where to start and be put off by the prospect of messing up. But you have to mess up! It’s liberating and makes the wins so much sweeter,’ Chloe adds.

‘There are so many avenues to explore with gardening and growing that my greatest encouragement will always be: if you think you don’t enjoy it, you simply haven’t found your niche yet.’



‘It’s social and climate justice’: Meet the guerrilla gardeners transforming your street

‘I wanted to find a way of making my neighbourhood greener,’ says Ellen Miles, London’s posterchild for guerrilla gardening.

The 29-year-old from Hackney began guerrilla gardening in lockdown 2020 at the age of 26, with the aim of contributing to her community and to ‘foster a sense of pride’ in her local area by making it look beautiful.

She describes guerrilla gardening as ‘the practice of adding plants to your neighbourhood in any suitable spot you can find’, and her efforts have garnered her nearly 85,000 followers on TikTok.

Prior to the launch of her social enterprise Dream Green which informs and equips people to guerrilla garden, Ellen had no garden of her own and was introduced to the idea by her activist friends who showed her Ron Finley’s Ted Talk.

Finley is a guerrilla gardener in South Central LA who planted a food forest of vegetables for himself and his community.

He claimed: ‘Gardening is the most therapeutic and defiant act you can do in the inner city. Plus you get strawberries.’

Read more here…

Meanwhile, after 18-year-old Tom came across GrowN22, a community gardening scheme based in Haringey, North London, he applied to join as a part-time employee to support his studies.

A community gardening scheme based in Haringey, GrowN22 is dedicated to transforming unlikely, disused and neglected spaces and gardens into vibrant growing spaces made by and for local people.

Tom has since turned his Gen Z hands to community gardening, and has learned a lot in the process.

In fact, he connected with GrowN22 through one of his friends, who had been hired by the organisation’s founder. An opportunity then came up to work on the site with him, which he decided to accept as a part-time student job.

‘I thought it would be a useful job as gardening is a life skill and I fancied working outside doing something physical instead of working inside,’ Tom shares.

Tom joined GrowN22 part-time (Picture: Supplied)

Since joining, he’s felt more connected with his community, making close connections with fellow members.

He’s also been able to develop a deeper understanding of politics, meeting with council members and MPs alike.

‘I have made friends as it’s a small company so we’re all quite close! I’ve also met loads of council members and MPs which has been such a fun experience,’ he shares.

‘Working across multiple sites has been a great way to connect to the community, as it has allowed me to see more of the area and work for people and places I’d never usually see or go to.’

And whilst others work indoors in an office, Tom has made the most of working outside in nature, something he feels lucky to be able to experience.

‘Gardening – especially as a part-time student job – is amazing as while other people are working indoors or in an office job, we get to do and learn new skills each time we work and have fun doing it,’ Tom concludes.

Like Chloe, 27-year-old Amy Chapman is sharing her gardening knowledge on TikTok. With 63.3K followers, her ethos is ‘learn to garden with me,’ and she similarly documents her experiences growing her own food.

Based in Pembrokeshire in Wales, Amy took up gardening after she moved into her current house. Inspired by the previous owners, who kept the garden in pristine condition, she decided to widen her knowledge bank and continue their legacy.

Amy uses gardening to ‘clear her head’ (Picture: Amy Chapman)

‘It was clear that the previous owner cared a lot about the garden and put a lot of effort into it, so it felt right that I should continue to take care of it and keep it looking beautiful,’ Amy shares.

‘It was when I started learning about growing veg that I really got hooked! I love cooking, so to be able to cook with ingredients that have 10x the flavour than those from the supermarket is amazing to me – and you can even grow foods that you would never be able to buy from your local supermarket.’

And, like Chloe, she uses gardening as a mindfulness practice to ‘clear her head.’

‘Going outside, breathing in fresh air and getting my hands in the dirt really calms me down and eases anxiety levels,’ she details.

‘Raising plants from seed and watching bees pollinate those plants makes me feel connected to nature and a part of a wider ecosystem.’

As well as picking up a new hobby, she’s made friends amidst an internet community in sharing her own love of gardening on social media.

‘The gardening community is such a lovely group of people, and you can learn so much through other peoples experience,’ she concludes.

‘With a lot of plants, you only get one shot to grow them each year, so by having other people share their wisdom with you, you can learn from their mistakes and become a better gardener faster – and avoid a few garden disasters.’

Do you have a story to share?

Get in touch by emailing [email protected].


MORE : My son’s ADHD and tics caused distress. Then I clipped electrodes to his ears


MORE : The telltale sign that a woman is a psychopath


MORE : Baby Reindeer is a masterpiece – but it was always going to become a mess





Source link

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here