It’s a sorry state of affairs when you overlook your own birthday but that’s precisely what I’ve gone and done! The Frustrated Gardener reached its tenth anniversary yesterday, June 6th, while I was busy ploughing through a pile of work that accumulated over the Jubilee weekend.
When I composed my first short post, duplicated in full below, little did I think that I would still be blogging ten years later: indeed, I barely understood what blogging was. And yet I read the two paragraphs and note that very little has changed. I still have a garden that’s smaller than my ambitions, I am still collecting plants with abandon and I never have enough time to spend outside. Happily, the pleasure I get from gardening has only increased, helped by having The Beau and our dogs Max and Millie in my life.
So often I find myself in the garden, mulling over new ideas and plans for future seasons. So, when rain stopped play this afternoon, I decided to finally take the plunge and set up a blog to share the real love of my life – my garden and all the wonderful plants in it.
So, why “frustrated”? Well, that would be down to a number of things. To begin with, my heart says it wants to garden acres, rather than the few small but perfectly formed square metres I actually have. A home for all those dream plants, for trees that will outlive me, and for vast prairie-like swathes of lush vegetation. Meanwhile, my head knows that those few metres already keep me incredibly busy, having created a space that’s the converse of low maintenance – an idea I have never had a lot of time for! So, I continue to give in to my plant kleptomania, buying plants and sowing seeds, just for the sheer joy of it and hoping, one day, that dream of a big garden (and time to tend to it) comes true. Until then, I hope you enjoy my reflections on the many pleasures and challenges of creating a small garden.
Although so much is familiar, life has moved gently on. In 2012 The Watch House was a weekend home – now it’s where I live full time. Another cottage was bolted on between 2015 and 2016, giving us the library, garden room, two further bedrooms and a second garden, dubbed the Gin & Tonic Garden. In January 2020, just before the pandemic took hold, we took on an allotment, not realising how fortunate we would soon feel to have a refuge and focus during the lockdowns. And then, last year, I went through the biggest change of my adult life, leaving employment to start my own business. That story is only a few months old and who knows how it might end. Change is good, necessary and welcome. I am thankful that much has changed for the better.
As for the next ten years, I hope that my now shared dream of a bigger garden, ideally in Cornwall, may be realised in that time. I’d love for Dan Cooper Garden to be a thriving and much-loved entity providing garden lovers everywhere with the best products and advice. I remain realistic about the prospect of success in the current climate but can do no more than put my heart, soul and every ounce of energy and ingenuity into my new enterprise.
What I feel more sure of now is that The Frustrated Gardener will still be going strong – perhaps in a different format if blogs have been superseded by something else by then! Either that or our attention spans will have grown so short that no one reads by 2032!
I feel incredibly lucky to have followers that have been steadfast since June 6th 2012, as well as thousands of readers who have joined the gang more recently. Without you, there would be no blog and almost certainly no new career. It’s only because of your support and encouragement that I’ve persevered and, dare I say, flourished. So, while it’s perhaps typical to toast the birthday boy, my toast is to you and the next ten years of The Frustrated Gardener.
With very special thanks to photographer Sarah Cuttle for the glorious images that illustrate this special anniversary post.