Friday, 24 February 2017

Paying it back......working with Ross!!

Last winter I read a blog that was to profoundly affect my working year. It wasn't a blog about gardens or gardening but a blog about what it's like to find yourself homeless and to work the way through that homelessness, finally finding a home. 
It touched me in a way I was quite surprised by, as it was real and yet there was humour in the darkness. By the time I'd begun to read it Ross, the blogger, was in a new home and we began a conversation on Twitter, with Ross being really keen to firstly get an allotment and then come down to some Incredible Edible Bristol work parties. 
 
At the first work party in the Bearpit last year Ross came and said hi, and told me he'd applied to be on Big Dreams Small Spaces with his newly taken on plot!! I may have said something along the lines of 'oh brilliant' but as with anything like that, it's such a tiny chance of being chosen I didn't expect to hear it mentioned again......
So imagine my surprise when I got a message to say that Ross had been selected! And then my added surprise when he told me he'd put me down as being his mentor on the project, hoping that I didn't mind. 
 
So I took a deep breath, rearranged some stuff and the project began, which you hopefully have seen on Friday evening.
I could go on here about what we did on the plot, what grew and what didn't. I could go on to talk about working with Monty, what it's like to work on TV gardens and how nervous I've been about this one coming out.
But none of that is important. What's important is that Ross, a funny, intelligent guy who's life went a bit wrong, is now back on track. Of course that has nothing to do with me, but what I hope is that the support I gave him in the garden helped to make his life a little calmer throughout what I know was a difficult year as everything settled and he came to terms with a really difficult period in his life. A time which I think may have changed him forever. I hope the few hours spent weeding, the quiet time spent on the allotment, the texts and conversations helped.
Working with Ross has made me realise Incredible Edible and working on the land, can create stability in lives where there is little or where change has destabilised. It's made me realise the power of our inclusive policies, not asking too much and just allowing folk to join in on their terms. And it's made me realise that in the same way as my life changed when I stepped into horticulture, others change too as they change their priorities and start becoming a part of something they believe in.
 
And even more importantly I've made what I hope will be a friendship for life.....
Recently I said to Ross, in a throw away comment, 'welcome to my life'. His response was, 'I only meant to pop in but I think I'm staying for good'.
Another example of how just a bit of kindness can change people's lives, inspiring change through communities from a real grassroots perspective. 
Never underestimate the power of a garden.....
 

17 comments:

  1. What a lovely, kind, mature post. I'm sure lots of other people are benefiting, like Ross, from your expertise and understanding. It's just obvious that growing, nurturing and working outdoors help to give all of us perspective and positivity. I wish Ross every success and happiness in life. And let's hope we see more of Sara on the telly!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Janet-it was an absolute pleasure to work with Ross but of course there are many, many others I support too!! I'm glad you enjoyed the programme!!

      Delete
  2. This is a wonderful and touching post, thank you for writing it x

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hoping to watch on iplayer over the weekend Sara xx

    ReplyDelete
  4. I watched this last night and it was lovely and delicate and real. Congratulations Ross and you and Monty for listening to each other and being there for each other, it spoke to many souls I am sure. x

    ReplyDelete
  5. The Bohemian Raspberry25 February 2017 at 02:08

    Wonderful Sara, it was a fantastic episode and you could really see the transformation in Ross from the being to the end of the programme.
    Well done you for showing support and kindness to some one in their darkest hours that's really admirable, you're a true inspiration to the gardening community.x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! It's such an honour to be able to work with people like Ross and the many others to inspire their inner hort!!

      Delete
  6. This post brought tears to my eyes. You are a real inspiration in how gardening and nature can be used to make the world a kinder, better place. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I just watched this on iPlayer, you have courage, creativity, inspiration, determination and a great smile, it just shows what you can do by weeding, the garden is your oyster... I humbly thank you...many hugs.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Fab piece. Shows the power of plants and the nurturing nature of gardening. Going to watch the programme after some compost shifting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you!! Enjoy the compost moving.....xx

      Delete
  9. Ah it warms my heart to read this, it really does. Good vibes to everyone in this and the kindness and I look forward to watching the show tonight :D <3

    ReplyDelete
  10. I love your writing and you. I watched the programme last night and shed a little happy tear. Ross was so natural and unsure, your heart goes out to him. What he achieved was wonderful and you must allow yourself some good credit. Can we expect you both on your own show next - a pay it forward show maybe, with you as hosts? I'll watch it, for that feel good glow. X

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Who knows what's next Lou? But we are working on it!!

      Delete