My name is Matthew Kirkum and am 15 years old, currently completing work experience at Notcutts Garden Centres. I feel I have grown up with gardening, what with my mother a keen gardener and my father working in horticulture. However, my gardening expertise is very limited; in fact mowing the lawn is possibly the only gardening skill I possess.
There is a sense that many people my age are oblivious to gardening and the joy it gives to many people. There is a danger that the stereotypical gardener is one of an older generation. I believe this is a false assumption and feel it’s important for people my age to become aware of this fact and do something about it. An easy way to get into gardening, even for a novice like myself, is growing your own vegetables and fruit. Whether it’s simply just growing a tomato plant, an asparagus or a bunch of carrots, the sense of achievement felt at dinner time when you eat something you have grown, is of utmost satisfaction.
It doesn’t seem right however, that we should be so uninterested in gardening, what with bright colours being all the rage; surely flowers would be well suited to a teenagers bed room? Maybe it’s just that we don’t recognise the benefits of plants and have the wrong impression?
When I was young I received a small cactus as a present. I watered it every day caring for it as if it would die on me at any second. It was the sense of owner ship and caring that excited me. Asked to do the weeding the answer would unquestionably be a no. But when I do get the chance, usually because money is involved, getting the roots of the weeds out of the soil is a therapeutic task with a sense of achievement.
Gardening could be introduced to children and teenagers through school projects and trips to gain more knowledge on the subject. Gardening has captured the imagination of many people so why should children and teenagers be any different? The Venus fly trap and other carnivorous plants appeal to me and, I dare say, to others like myself. Exotic, curious looking plants fascinate young children along with the ability to grow their own gardens. A misconception can lead to teenagers believing that flowers are the essence of gardening, yet BBQs, greenhouses, water features and more, all fall under the same category.
Work experience has meant that I have been able to be involved with many aspects of Notcutts including the garden centre. Whilst I was there, I did notice a gap in the market for teenagers and children who are interested in gardening. On the other hand, I was pleased to see many young families walking through the entrance with children excited by the plethora of colours displayed in the scene before them. Hopefully this negative attitude towards gardening can be amended in teenagers across the country in order to continue the British love affair with gardening.