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THE JOY OF GARDENING Why do we garden? What is the purpose of it?  Do we need to do it?  Questions 1 and 2 can have very similar answers and there are several answers.  The answer to question 3 is yes! Gardening brings so many positives for everyone and everything.  To look at it from a human point of view, food produced by yourself is so much better than that bought in a supermarket.  A garden full of flowers and colour is so much more pleasing on the eye than an untidy mess and all the associated problems that can come with that.  Also gardening gets you out into the fresh air which can only be good and think of the exercise benefits, keeping you fit and healthy.  It also provides an answer to boredom, because there is always something to do in the garden.  Also gardening allows you to relax and unwind because gardens generally are quiet and peaceful places, The garden is an extension of the countryside and with all the pressures on the countryside now our little green spaces are becoming vitally important both for our own sanity and relaxation as well as for nature which is generally struggling. Remember that all living things are part of one giant eco system and food chain.  We are perhaps lucky that we are at the top and seemingly superior to everything else (questionable), but with this comes responsibility to look after and sustain all other life rather than destroy it, because if we keep punching holes in the food chain ultimately it is us who will suffer! Gardening gives mankind the opportunity to look after everyone, to provide food and enjoyment for ourselves but also to provide vital food resources for smaller creatures who in turn provide much entertainment for us as we watch them going about their daily routines.  We can provide flowers of the right kind for bees so we get food plants pollinated and are provided with honey in return.  Shrubs that berry or produce seeds will attract birds, many of which also eat the insect pests that spoil some of our plants. So we don’t need to use so many harmful chemicals that sadly kill the good guys as well as the bad ones. Bright colourful things are said to keep us cheerful and improve our general mood and state of health, so what better than a garden full of bright living things rather than concrete and tarmac? Gardening can seem like a foreign language but is not anywhere near as difficult as you may think.  It does require patience, results are seldom instant, but the returns are well worth the time and effort.  Remember all the health benefits to you, fresh air, exercise and a general sense of well-being for in reality very little expense and probably in the long run actually saves you money! You can garden in the smallest of spaces (just a few pots) you don’t need big spaces.  So don’t be shy, seek some advice from experts such as us at Ribblesdale Nurseries and start having some fun.   Phil Dunnett