Blogger: Adam Murray, Communications Officer


Well we have come full circle, my name is Adam and I love plants and gardening. I dismissed plants outright when I chose Zoology over Biology (including botany) for my undergraduate degree. My shoulders sank and I huffed at the thought of doing chores in the garden as a kid. Now look at me, #OperationWildTimes is up and running and you and I are now in a world of “plantification”. So you can imagine my disappointment, head-hitting-hands moment when I went to Geoffrey’s place with my 3 ½ year old and came across this.


Are they saying spend money on more plastic and pretend to do gardening – “just like home”? Surely it is better to kick open the back door at home and do the real thing outside, it is cheaper and better for the children too, the sort of things long lasting childhood memories are made of. Haven’t they seen that gardening is now the coolest thing to do especially for the teenagers aged 16-18s and Under 35s. Well OK not necessarily cool but really rewarding, calming, and you can give you and yours a little oasis. Then you can go all Noah on the wildlife and build a place where they can call home too.


Every evening since our garden has been done (save a few tweaks like wobbly paving slabs, decking and hammock post) Mrs. M loses me to my thoughts and the wildlife buzzing around me in the garden. I can’t tell you how relaxing it is. So now that I have caught the bug (and on a mission to ban all plastic versions of reality) I have been released like a captive born gardening beast out into the big wild world, eager to learn and see other creations.


My first stop this week was the Exotic Garden, on Thorpe Rd in Norwich. As I had walked passed it for the last 3 ½ years on the way to work I had been meaning to go for a while but now the bug-bitten Murray made it happen. I was blown away by this surprising small plot of land that had managed, with clever winding paths and vistas around every corner, to create a magical wonderland. With magnificent monumental cannas and cacti and cascading sedums and house leeks, I was in plant heaven. The butterflies and bumblebees were going mad for it too. Just think, their garden is only 5 minutes walk away from my house and with the same micro-climate and south facing aspect – maybe we will have our very own wonderland in the future.


Next up on my visits of inspiration was to our good friends at the RSPB Flatford Wildlife Garden in John Constable country. A pleasant old fashioned train journey to Manningtree from Norwich ended and we were met by the smiley face of Mark who whisked us off to the garden. There I soaked up the atmosphere, the young families on holiday frolicking around the garden following the treasure trail while the more sedate visitors sat and enjoyed their ice creams, watching nature pass them by. If you look closely you can find similarities between the more exotic gardens. The orchid like flowers of the country garden sweet peas, the tall standing teasels and thistley pom-poms of the echinops and the rambling ground sedums – in my minds eye close counterparts to their blousy tropical cousins. Not only do the architecture of these plants inspire in the garden but I love going there to pick up some plants to bring back home and learn some top tips too. Here are a few of those gems.


My name is Adam and I love plants and gardening. Your mission should you choose to accept is to join our band of merry wannabe green-fingered folk and get out there this bank holiday and get dirty, it’s is good for the soul.


Take a look below at the attached file from my interview with Mike the gardener about his thoughts on the power of getting outside and your hands dirty. 

Mike - The advantages of the outdoors.m4a