My love for plants and gardening started at a very early age. With domestic violence a constant in our home, my mother would spend hours in the garden so she didn't have to go back indoors. I would be by her side and we would 'potter' together. Our garden, although very small, was a place of refuge and tranquility for me. Because of this connection to nature, I have always loved to 'potter' and it has remained with me throughout my life. 

The garden has always been a safe haven and without realising it, plants have taken care of me - even though I thought I was taking care of them! Every house or apartment I lived in, I surrounded myself with plants. They gave me focus when times were tough and they brought me joy whatever the life situation was at that point in time. Whenever I left a rented home I would leave it with a more beautiful garden than when I moved in. This gave me a sense of self worth and pride.

I find peace and calm in any garden. Having one of my own was a dream come true and one I love to live every day with Mindful Gardening. Being a Mindful Gardener isn't about having a large garden or building one - it's about enjoying the space you have, slowing down and connecting with nature. It's about taking a few minutes every day to stop, breathe and focus your attention on nature because in today's fast paced world, it's easy for life to slip by without notice. Immerse yourself in taking care of plants and your plants will take care of you.

The pictures below have special meaning to me; I have fond childhood memories of summers spent on my grandparents' raspberry farm where we grew an abundance of different berry varieties, a favorite being raspberries which was also the main crop - we would eat berries all summer long! The Lilac has a special place too as I had a tree right outside my bedroom window and late spring the heavenly scent would fill the air with the anticipation of summer after a long, cold winter. I loved it so much that when I was a young girl I had lilac printed bedding, sheets, drapes and pillows! When I smell lilac blooms today, it takes me right back to my childhood memories of being safe in the garden. And yes, of course, I have a Lilac tree in my garden - it's still quite young but it is a reminder to me of where I came from and how lucky I am to be here and have what I have.