I’m not entirely sure how my generation – the Xers – will be judged by history; perhaps as much for what we failed to do as what we actually accomplished.  But we do at least, I think, get a tick-mark for rediscovering the delight of growing things (and more than just as the normal upsurge of interest in gardening as one approaches middle age). I’m struck my the number of contemporaries who can’t resist blogging or posting our satisfaction at a row of colourful-looking vegetables growing in the garden or allotment, a bower of ripe fruit or a freshly-baked loaf or cake with the zeal of a new convert – which is in many cases what we are.  Our grandparents gardened, baked and preserved to ensure a plentiful supply of food when money was scarce, or to dig for victory, and somehow the habit stuck.  Then in some families, that impulse seems to have skipped a generation.  In other families such as mine (in which most of the baby-boomers, even from their twenties, had gardens to grace a Beatrix Potter storybook) that love of gardening somehow failed to transmit to our generation – whether out of a general boomer inclination not to impose their values on their children, or out of a more specific feeling that in an era of cheap food and large supermarkets, tending the soil was an matter of leisure rather than national effort.  Now in our thirties and early forties, we’re rediscovering the love of growing things for ourselves.  I don’t suppose I’ll ever become a natural, but if our boys grow up continuing to derive pleasure from finally getting apples to grow on our tree, digging up our first bag of potatoes or making our first bottles of home-made cordial (very genteel though it all sounds), it will have been well worth it.

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