“Notes on Nurture”: My journey in horticulture

White woman with dark hair in a blue dress looks away smiling surrounded by plantsLucie-Rae is part of Belfast Women’s Aid, who received Grow Wild community funding in 2019. Here she explains how the experience of growing wildflowers with her clients has inspired her future plans.

I have a small A5 notebook from Grow Wild that I’d optimistically started off incredibly neatly; dates, meetings, ideas etc. As I flick through it now, the weeks blurring from Spring to Summer, my writing becoming more haphazard- sometimes sentences just trail off (on one page I’d simply written ‘nettle tea?’) a number of pages marked with muddy fingerprints- I realized- this notebook is a written record of my entire learning experience with Grow Wild.

Because I had come from a support worker background, used to logging incidents and meetings with dates and precise details - this experience of working on a garden, outdoors, battling unpredictable Irish weather - was entirely new to me. And I honestly can say that I loved every moment.

Four women digging in a garden on a sunny day with a brightly painted wall behind them

It was always a given that this project - to create a beautiful, nurturing and joyful space for the women and children who use Women’s Aid services - would connect the long-established benefits of green-care to the support work we do at Women’s Aid.

"What I hadn’t planned on ... was the impact working on this project would have on me."

What I hadn’t planned on (and why a well-organized notebook was never going to convey this) was the impact working on this project would have on me.

I had no prior garden experience and had grown up in a flat with no garden. Yes, I love my houseplants like children, but it was safe to say my horticultural knowledge was limited.

What working with Grow Wild has shown the participants on the project, myself included, is how rewarding and life-affirming it is to see an idea take shape. Our inspiration has been the never-ending resourcefulness of each-other, and this earth to allow beauty to flourish in even the most challenging of circumstances. Working on a garden is unpredictable, doesn’t take a linear narrative, becomes messy and tough at times, and is the reason I am now keen to pursue my own green-care training.

Deepest thanks to all the women and children from Women’s Aid who continue to support our Nurture Garden, and whose ideas, enthusiasm and bravery inspired this project in the first place.

They tried to bury us, but they didn’t know we were seeds.

three women in a sunny garden holding a sign saying Thank You

Read about They Didn’t Know We Were Seeds Nurture Garden on their profile page.