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Gardening and women's rights?

(164 Posts)
SuperLoudPoppingAction Sun 17-Jun-18 15:54:19

There are three things keeping me relatively sane at the moment. One being discussion with like-minded women who are passionate about women's rights, another being (surprisingly, as I am dysphraxic and a bit crap at it) swimming.
The most reliable, though, is being out in my garden. I love being in nature generally. If I had more energy I'd like to go on walks more, but I've been fairly knackered lately.

The cyclical nature of planting, growing, harvesting etc feels very significant to me.
Also, the fact that I can make mistakes and that everything will still basically be ok is so lovely. It's an antidote to anxiety that I feel with loads of other stuff.

I've had such lovely conversations with women about gardening. One woman gave me some of her tiny gooseberries from her allotment and I made chutney with them. Another woman told me that parsley only thrives in a household run by a woman.

Alice Walker talks a lot about gardening.
Susan Brownmiller ink{\]]/}
I love this as well.
"a harmonious, informal, frothing sort of a garden, its borders filled with “green” flowers, its shady corners crammed with hellebores, primroses, epimediums, and, most important of all, her beloved snowdrops."

I keep thinking about how important it is to experience a Space of One's Own. Even if it's a terrarium with a couple of air plants in it (like in my last house, where the garden was not private enough for me to enjoy it).

It's not going to revolutionise gender politics in itself, but is nurturing a connection to nature something that anyone else connects with feminist politics?

SuperLoudPoppingAction Sun 17-Jun-18 15:57:39

boo to link fail

not that SB is my favourite feminist ever, but she has certainly made a lovely garden

TERFragetteCity Sun 17-Jun-18 15:58:32

Me too.

BettyDuMonde Sun 17-Jun-18 16:00:00

I’m a bonafide crazy plant lady. Mostly houseplants now as I already completely filled our little terraced backyard.

TERFragetteCity Sun 17-Jun-18 16:02:31

I teach Hort in my other roles, these days to teachers. It is quite interesting as in my groups there may be one man, but more often than not the group is all female. The dynamics definitely change when men are on the courses.

SuperLoudPoppingAction Sun 17-Jun-18 16:30:00

Some of my female friends who have really struggled after domestic abuse, or mental health issues have blossomed (sorry!) after going on a horticulture course.

I was lucky enough to have a garden growing up so I sort-of 'know' how to sow radish seeds etc but if you haven't grown up with it or even if, like me, you're rusty, it is really precious to be able to learn about it all with other women, I think, especially if it's a respite from loud voices and blokes in expert-mode.

LangCleg Sun 17-Jun-18 16:33:39

I also like gardening. I'm all about the food production! Time passes differently in the garden - not necessarily more quickly or more slowly; just differently. Couldn't put it into words.

For some reason, I am terrified of house spiders but garden spiders don't bother me at all.

BeyondSceptical Sun 17-Jun-18 16:35:13

I'm a bit crap at houseplants, everything I have grown has died a quick death.

But I'm having a bit of a knack with food plants atm. Got actual cherries from our cherry tree this year!

ErrolTheDragon Sun 17-Jun-18 16:37:51

Mind you, there's sexism in gardening - I can't find a pair of small properly thorn proof gloves. Any recommendations?

bluerunningshoes Sun 17-Jun-18 16:39:05

gardening/growing food is part of my zombie plan.
at the moment I don't grow quantities enough to feed the family, but the idea that I could is comforting.
and yes, I find being out in the garden good for my mental (and physical) health.

BeyondSceptical Sun 17-Jun-18 16:42:02

Errol, I just wear men's riggers for all gardening stuff. Trick I learnt from my non-binary mother grin

Theinconstantgardener Sun 17-Jun-18 16:46:18

Me too!! Mens cargos or shorts with lots of pockets and belts to hang things off are my gardening garb of choice. True about gloves though. I just wear two pairs but a bit bulky for some jobs

Norther Sun 17-Jun-18 17:12:17

I have started gardening over the last couple of years. About 50/50 success/failure rate but I don't mind that. The other thing that really helps me is (don't laugh) feeding the birds. I survived a strangling by ex and when he recently got back in touch with threats I lost the plot for a while but feeding the house sparrows in my garden has become massively therapeutic. I know it sounds weird. Also using it to deflect demands for a pet from the little one! In the beginning I spent hours just watching them from the window and it brought my heart rate down when I was struggling with anxiety. Now it is more that I enjoy watching them while doing the dishes. I thoroughly recommend its therapeutic value.

gendercritter Sun 17-Jun-18 17:13:48

I'm the same. I can only do little bits but I find it enormously therapeutic. I far prefer plants to humans.

TERFragetteCity Sun 17-Jun-18 17:14:56

I grow an Amelanchier outside the back door just for the blackbird who is all over it for 10 days each year picking off each berry one by one.

I also grow loads of herbs, to chop back and put in my compost as they make it smell nice. I know, I know, I went too far.

PhilODox Sun 17-Jun-18 17:22:39

[pulls up a kneeler to get comfy]
There a great book by Barbara Kingsolver about growing her own food- Animal, vegetable, miracle.

Also, a good book about the circle of life/growing is The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd.

Norther Sun 17-Jun-18 17:29:20

I have planted a couple of apple trees. There is something miraculous about a tiny twig producing a huge juicy apple. It doesn't seem credible.

Eryri2018 Sun 17-Jun-18 17:31:52

The 3 things making my maternity leave truly great (other than my amazing DD) are gardening, feminism chat/ debate - keeping my brain ticking over, and long walks in the sunshine with my dog (and DD of course).

bluerunningshoes it is one of my long term goals to grow a medicinal herb garden...incase of collapse of modern civilisation or zombie apocalypse!!

BeUpStanding Sun 17-Jun-18 17:33:14

LangCleg You're exactly right about time passing differently when you're gardening. It's quite magical.

CillaBlackSurpriseSurprise Sun 17-Jun-18 17:37:18

I enjoy listening to nature, when human noise allows.

LastGirlOnTheLeft Sun 17-Jun-18 17:38:26

That has to be the loveliest opening post I have ever read. I love nature - not so much the garden as DH tends to take care of that, but just being in the countryside. I find the life there, so unaware of humans for the most part and just going about their work, their job of growing and thriving, so soothing. I love the air and the water and trees and animals...

I can forget people exist. I'm lucky that I live quite remotely, surrounded by beauty and each day I wake the world feels pure and good. I love that feeling. It doesn't last too long. As soon as I check FWR over morning coffee I am reminded soon enough of the evil out there.

bluerunningshoes Sun 17-Jun-18 17:39:39

eryri that's witchcraft wink
absolutely belongs to feminism chat

ErrolTheDragon Sun 17-Jun-18 17:58:55

I'm 5'1"with hands to match - men's riggers completely swamp/fall off/leave no manual dexterity. But I've just had a search online and found something which claims to be small ladies riggers so hopefully better than the offerings at garden centres/DIY stores. (My garden isn't that much of a jungle, but I've been doing some volunteering at a local nature reserve - serious brambles, very invigorating!)grin

Totally agree with the therapeutic power of garden birdwatching too. DH got me a most excellent birthday present at the start of the year, a pole-type feeder arrangement for the patio (the bird table at the bottom of the garden unfortunately had become a rat magnet).
Currently I've got loads of youngsters - not sure how clear this photo is but a few of the slightly fluffy blue tits and a juvenile goldfinch.

LangCleg Sun 17-Jun-18 18:02:56

On growing food - I like the gluts! For a few weeks every year, I'm like fuck me, I've got a rhubarb mountain again. And I stew it and crumble it and chutney it and smoothie it and then, suddenly, no more rhubarb for another year. But then it's fuck me, I've got a tomato mountain again and it's all about what you can do with a mountain of tomatoes. So I get to bring the garden indoors. I genuinely find it truly satisfying.

Thank you for starting this thread, OP!

SuperLoudPoppingAction Sun 17-Jun-18 18:04:57

Horrible link.
Barbara ehrenreich book about witches and midwives which has been on my wishlist for about a decade.

I remember being fascinated by healing herbs as a teenager and also foraging.

Yesterday I found a teeny sprig of wood sorrel in a shady bit of my garden which was exciting.

There's a weed pile I haven't managed to deal with and I was feeling quite down about it until I realized a thrush was bringing her young family to it so they could find woodlice and slugs. Feeding birds is lovely.
This is the first garden where I've installed a bird bath. Very exciting. I can't actually see it from indoors yet but they're chilled enough to visit when I sit out.

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