Published!

There are no words to describe the immense joy I feel about appearing in the My Real Garden book, alongside its creators Ann-Marie Powell and Tamsin Westhorpe, and the rest of the contributors in our My Real Garden community.

Writing a book is tough enough, but when you factor in the pressure of having to crowdfund the publishing costs, collating contributions and an impossibly tight deadline, it’s a miracle that we have it in our hands at all!

I have nothing but pride and admiration for what our community have achieved, together, for Greenfingers Charity. It’s a beautiful memento of a life-affirming year, and I am just so privileged to be bound together with you all.

When I began creating my garden, I never imagined that it would be leading a chapter on Tropical Retreats and the close connections it would bring me, be that on Instagram or the gardening community as a whole.

In these pages I take you on a journey through my garden and discuss my love of lush, architectural foliage, planting for pollinators, my passion for ponds and healthy, happy hedgehogs. I even share my tips for growing space-saving vegetables.

Compassion for my community shines through, be that my love for Leasowes Walled Garden or how a pandemic inspired the Plant a Thought project, launched to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week.

I am now part of a philanthropic phenomenon, where kindness is king and people in the community send you handmade bunting to help you celebrate this special occasion. WE DID IT!

The book will be exclusively launched through British Garden Centres Group. Retail outlet details can be found on http://britishgardencentres.com. It will go on general release through Amazon from 1st April 2021.

Your purchase will support Greenfingers – the wonderful UK charity that funds magical gardens in children’s hospices, giving life-limited children and their families precious time together.

Chi and Me

Today is World Mental Health Day, and an opportunity to reconnect with my Chi – the original life force that we are all born with, but which we detach from, to our detriment. As we strive to survive in a world of artificial affirmations and perceptions of perfection, we lose sight of our true origin and become further removed from the universe and the source of our life energy. As we grow and react to the environmental pressures of everyday life, we form bad habits, which compete with our basic instincts and our ability to think and feel for ourselves.

As someone who often forgets to deploy their off button, it’s even more important to check in with my Chi, and ask myself whether the choices I’m making are in response to the world around me or a much more healthy, innate response, coming from a place of compassion for myself and others. So, today, I wear my green ribbon pin badge, as a reminder of my vulnerability, but also my strength, and to show solidarity with the Mental Health Foundation and all those who are experiencing their own struggles and learning to accept their truth.

Love Darren X

Help make homelessness history, one kind act at a time

Doorway

Let’s tackle homelessness, one kind act at a time!

There have been shocking statistics about homelessness in the news, recently, with local councils estimating that more than 4,751 people a night sleep rough on England ‘s streets as of Autumn 2017. That’s up 169% since records began in 2010, and rising.

The reasons why someone finds themselves in this no-man’s-land are as diverse as those existing in this perpetual Groundhog Day. Devoid of interaction or purpose, their voices are muted and their lives hang in limbo, swept aside like spent leaves on an Autumn day.

In the words of Ben, from London, “Every day I wake up is just another day closer to death. “If I didn’t wake up, tomorrow, sometimes I’d think it’d be a blessing, then I wouldn’t have to do another 24 hours of this.” How, in 21st-century Britain, can we allow words like this to form in the mouths of our citizens?

The longer that someone is homeless, the bigger the impact on both their physical and mental health and the further removed from society they become, reducing their chances of reintegrating with and contributing to the community that created their predicament.

In the spirit of Bernadette Russell’s ‘The Little Book of Kindness’, I want to create a ripple effect of Kindness Scouts who, rather than turning a blind eye on their daily commute, stop and engage with those sleeping rough, from a position of safety and compassion.

Perhaps you can forgo your daily coffee fix on your way to or from work, slow your pace and extend a warm hand on a cold day. You might not have a ‘responsibility’ to that person, but you do have the power to give them hope, a meal, and a kind word or two.

How would you feel if you were identified as a ‘problem’, if your life amassed to nothing except for the tattered clothes that you were wearing, and the doorways you slept in were the same ones that closed in your face on a freezing night?

Be a part of the solution. Be a Kindness Scout and let’s help make homelessness history, one kind act at a time.

Tag your kind acts using the hashtag #KindnessScout

Thank you! Darren X

Statistics source: ITV News – 25 January 2018