Plant the seed for a better future
The American author Phyllis Theroux once described gardening as the nearest one can come to being present at creation. It satisfies an almost primeval urge within many of us to produce something new and organic from tiny seeds. Few things can give such lasting joy as seeing flowers, fruit or vegetables which you have planted ripen and grow to maturity.
As this newspaper launches its Blooming Marvellous campaign to get readers out into the garden, they need only read the story in today's newspaper about the new Local Nature Reserve on the outskirts of Bangor for inspiration. Fifteen years ago, local people determined to brighten up a piece of land in the area, planted hundreds of trees, which has now turned into a woodland – providing a perfect habitat for birds and insects. But creating a better environment need not be on that scale. It could be a simple window box or that patch of green in front of the house.
All that is required is a little imagination, some hard work and the desire to share in this nature drive. The rewards are immense. You will have done something positive to transform the landscape, and the joy that you feel in your work will be shared by everyone who sees the new garden take shape and bloom. It is also a great way to build community spirit. If you are naturally green-fingered then share your expertise with others who lack that knowledge.
Perhaps you may even want to start a gardening club or start growing vegetables on an allotment. Over the coming weeks we will be bringing your stories to our tens of thousands of readers, running competitions and giving hints on how to make the most of your green space.
This is an unique opportunity to make Northern Ireland a nicer place to look at. Many of us have often looked with envy at our neighbours' beautiful gardens. Now, with a little encouragement, we can start to create our own. So, get out those gardening gloves, a few packets of seeds, a trowel or fork, and start digging.