Thursday, 10 October 2019

World Mental Health Day and Gardening

Gardening and Mental Health are fantastic partners:

No this isn't me jumping on a band wagon.

I take anti-depressants. I have done for around 12 years.
The reasons for my depression are a complicated jumble of chronic illness, the death of my mother, trying to self-build a house and renovate another, workplace bullying, and the classic: hormones.

After being brushed off by a doctor near our old house, we decided to transfer to the practice near our self-build. The 10 minute assessment appointment turned into an hour. I reeled off everything that was happening to me, I sobbed, she listened, she asked me some questions on a standard test to try to gauge my current state, and she decided I needed to give myself a break, she would get my medical issues fully investigated and while I was waiting for Consultant appointments and scans she wanted me to start taking an anti-depressant.

I broke down in tears again, not so much because I felt like a failure for needing anti-depressants (which is very common), but because she had heard me, really heard me.

We started on a very low dose of something to boost my serotonin fact the pharmacy printed label said 'take one daily to boost low mood'.

My GP checked back in with me a couple of weeks later, then again a couple of weeks later, and we agreed that though I'd noticed an improvement, it was very mild, perhaps we needed to increase the dose a bit.

Currently I'm prescribed 3 times the amount I was on when I started (which is still well below the maximum daily dosage), and for me it works. I feel balanced, my responses to stress, anxiety and sadness are much more in proportion - I now recognise just how bad I was back in 2007.

I think it is incredibly important that we talk about mental health and stop being afraid of anti-depressants. Talking openly to people at work, I've discovered quite a few people who have been prescribed them. Some only for a short time, and some much more long term like me.

I've seen people give up because the tablet prescribed didn't work, or gave them side-effects - to these people I say wait, speak to your GP about your concerns. There are a lot of options out there, just because one tablet hasn't helped doesn't mean a different one won't. I was lucky that my GP chose carefully for me. Also anti-depressants aren't like flipping a light switch, things take time to work and find balance. My husband was incredibly supportive which helped enormously.

I've seen people begin to feel better after taking anti-depressants for a short while, and stop taking them suddenly because they think they are 'cured'! Again, go to your GP, do not just stop taking anti-depressants, always do it with the support and guidance of your doctor, you can fall into very dark paces (metaphorically) when you go cold-turkey. A dear friend decided to take himself off his tablets suddenly, and became very ill. When I asked him why, he said he hated the idea of taking anti-depressants - like it labelled him in some way, we discussed it long and hard, I reminded him that some people (like me) have a chemical deficiency/imbalance and the tablets are there to support our body much like taking a vitamin. Think of it simply as a daily supplement and the demonising voices begin to fall away.

Soon after, with his GPs guidance, my friend got himself back onto his tablets and I made him swear never to take himself off them again without first consulting his doctor.

So can gardening really help?

Well it certainly helps me as part of my daily self-care 'routine', and millions of others swear by it too.
Not only are you moving muscles, breathing fresh air and hopefully picking up some much needed vitamin D (but do wear sunscreen!), you are also absorbing yourself in an activity that needs concentration, but shouldn't add to your stress if you do it right.

For example, deadheading flowers focuses your eyes and mind on finding those faded blooms, carefully tracing the stem back to the next flower or leaf node, and snipping it cleanly off with sharp secateurs or scissors. Each one removed is a success, and will reward you with more flowers in a few days/weeks.

Sowing seeds, potting on seedlings and planting them out can have similar powers to train the mind away from stress and anxious thoughts. If listening to birds singing (or neighbours arguing!) is stealing your focus, try bringing it back by listening to some of your favourite music, or maybe a mindfulness podcast if you find these helpful. Some actually find these things anxiety inducing, so do listen to yourself. If you are overwhelmed, stop and change how you are accomplishing your goal, but continue to aim for it.

Don't try undertaking a huge project like building a deck or digging a pond - now is not the time to put extra pressure on yourself. Choose small easy goals (like removing a single dead flower), prepare your tools and surroundings, and take deep steady breaths. If all you manage is that one flower head today, that's perfectly fine - remember that it is one more than you achieved yesterday, and allow yourself to smile when you do succeed.

Rebecca xx.

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Plant of the Week 6 - Peony

Plant of the Week 6 - Peony

Hi Everyone!

I do hope you're all enjoying my 'Plant of the Week' YouTube video series. This week we are looking at the beautiful, blousey Peony.

Peony Plant Week YouTube video
Click the link below to watch the video

Click the link below and come along and find out some interesting, practical facts about these magnificent plants.

Rebecca xx

Monday, 20 May 2019

Sick Orchid Update - Has Nature's Gift worked?

It's Crunch Time!

I've had a request for an update video of my very poorly Phalaenopsis orchid.

Treating Orchid root rot
Orchid update - click the video at the bottom of this post

The story so far...

It was starting to struggle to stay hydrated, and only managed one flower this year, so I decided to repot. The roots were officially awful, rotten, mouldy and I ended up removing most of them, cleaning what was left with Isopropyl Alcohol and repotting in a clean pot with fresh medium watch that video here

Then I had a message from E-Coco Products UK, who had seen the vidoe and felt they had a product that might help cure the root rot. So I filmed another video which you can see here,

Three and a half months later, it's time to see if there is any hope for this orchid, are there any roots left in that soil?
Come and find out with me, keep your fingers crossed!

Rebecca xx

Thursday, 16 May 2019

RHS Malvern Spring Festival

Visiting an RHS Show for the First Time

Hi everyone,
Last week I got the opportunity to travel across the country to visit the RHS Malvern Spring Festival - think Chelsea Flower Show, but a fraction earlier and a lot easier to get your purchases home from!

RHS Malvern Spring Festival YouTube video
Spoiler Alert - I bought a new Hosta

I was delighted to be invited by the lovely team from E-Coco Products to be their guest, get to meet and film them, and get loads of garden inspiration too!

Click the link below and come and join me in this week's YouTube video, see what I saw, and what I bought too ⌣

Rebecca xx

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Exploring Doddington Place Gardens on Easter Sunday

Visiting a Beautiful English Garden

It was a hot sunny Easter Sunday here in the UK - normally it snows at Easter, so we were already onto a winner!
We'd had Doddington Place Gardens, near Faversham in Kent, on our must visit list for several years, and finally we decided today was the day.
I went equipped with my filming gear and made a video for my YouTube channel, and here are a few photographic highlights for you.

Rebecca xx
Tulip bakeri Lilac WonderRock Garden Doddington Place Kent
Tulip bakeri 'Lilac Wonder' in the Rock Garden

Rock Garden Sunken Garden Doddington Place
Ornate brickwork separates the Rock Garden from the Sunken Garden

Doddington Place South Terrace Topiary Secret Garden
The South Terrace captivated me

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Easy Easter Decorations with plants

Easy Easter Decorating with Flowers

Hi Everyone,

This week's video is a celebration of Easter and Spring.
I've used a 2nd hand tea set, some adorable little viola and poached egg colour primula, teamed with neutral linen napkins folded into bunny rabbit shapes, and my Gisella Graham Chicken doorstop.

Cute Easter Tea Party DIY Decor flowers plants
Time for a cute Easter Tea Party
These easy decoration ideas are inexpensive and so easy to do. Use all of them for a fun Easter Tea Party, or pick elements for a cute shabby chic table setting. Check out my YouTube video below for how I put it all together.

planting flowers shabby chic containers
Viola in a china sugar bowl with pretty tea time treats

Bunny napkins pretty Spring flowers shappy chic tea party
Napkins folded into bunnies with viola and primula plants
Rebecca xx

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Brand New YouTube Series Starts Today!!

Plant of the Week video- part 1

Well I've been uploading videos to YouTube, at the weekend, for the last 18 months now, and today is the day I launch a new midweek series called "Plant of the Week"

Pumpkin Becki Plant Week midweek YouTube video series

I'll be sharing facts about a different plant every week, some that I grow in my own garden, and some I will have to go searching for. There'll be ornamental plants, vegetables, fruit, fungi and trees too

So please join me, 7pm GMT today, and if you have any plants you'd like me to talk about in future videos, be sure to leave me a comment here, or on the Plant of the Week videos on YouTube 💜

Rebecca xx