Reaching out to other natures conservationists can have such a positive impact: the power and joy of ‘finding people to talk to’ is astonishing!
The late summer evening was balmy and the light was fading as I stepped out for a stroll round my neighbourhood before settling in for the night.
Before I’d gone far, I spotted an elderly man standing in his garden watching the world go and surveying his flower borders so I stopped to compliment him on his beautiful flower-filled garden. He was only too happy to join me in conversation pointing with pride to his flower border and explaining that it provided somewhere for the bees to visit. He added that he was sorry to see that ‘the world seems to be being covered with concrete!’
Here was someone I could relate to so, of course, before moving on I handed him one of my ‘thank you for your lovely front gardens’ notes. Click here: “Front Garden thank you cards” for a printable version (2 cards on an A4 sheet).
In recent weeks I’ve discovered that handing out my ‘thank you’ notes often leads to very pleasant connection and conversations with like-minded ‘front-garden nature conservationists’ – I’ve even been offered a cup of tea! – and I’ve been musing why it was that such encounters with fellow garden-lovers could put a spring in my step, make the world seem a happier place and give me hope for the future.
I recall reading that ‘Finding People to Talk To’ was listed as a way of looking after our mental health in these difficult political times. Writer and Extinction Rebellion activist Sam Knights is quoted as saying in an interesting Guardian article, ‘Don’t give up! How to stay healthy, happy and combative in impossible political times,’ which features quotes from several activists:
‘Finding people to talk to and support you is incredibly important. I cannot describe the huge emotional weight that was lifted for me when I first felt comfortable talking about the climate crisis and how that was affecting my mental health. It’s easy to feel like we are alone but there are thousands of people who feel like this and they want to talk to you, too. So please, as a first step, start talking to people about it.’
My evening chat with my elderly neighbour didn’t involve a discussion of climate change. There was no mention of the role gardens play in cutting down pollution, reducing noise and helping to keep our houses cool. But we shared a fellow-feeling that the natural world is under threat and needs to be nurtured, that bees are important and that we don’t like concrete gardens! The implication was simply that we feel happier when we have a connection with nature.
So, if you are concerned at the ever-increasing growth of ‘concrete’ gardens and would like to congratulate those who are helping the natural world to flourish, you might like to post one of our notes through a few letter boxes. Who knows, you might have a very satisfying conversation with a neighbour and even be offered a cup of tea!