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How this magazine changed my life
In September 1996 this magazine landed on my door mat.
It was a freebie that Euan had signed up for (very uncharacteristically) at some event or other.
We were living in a tenement flat in Glasgow at the time, we didn’t have a garden, though I did have some pots on our doorstep,
I was working long hours as a museum curator and studying for a PhD on the side.
I was also very newly pregnant, though possibly didn’t even know that, when I sat down to read the magazine.
It is a particularly good copy of Gardens Illustrated - lots of good articles - but the article that altered the direction of my life is between pages 48 and 53. It was an article about Sarah Raven - a preview of her book “The Cutting Garden” that was due to be published the following month.
I have no idea why this article struck me so strongly - at that point Sarah Raven was working as a wedding florist, growing the flowers for that. It was a few years before the great Perch Hill empire.
But strike me it did - within a couple of months we were looking for a house with a garden in the countryside. Within 4 years I had quit my job to retrain in horticulture and grow cut flowers.
I find this kind of hinging moment fascinating.
Sometimes seemingly quite insignificant things, the signing up for a free magazine, the turning of a page, the sighting of someone across a crowded room, change our lives completely.
Probably the seeds of that were there already there - I was certainly picking flowers from waste ground and filling vases with foraged flowers - and Sarah’s writing merely intensified and ignited the wish.
But maybe it was fate - a way to move me towards a way of life I am much more suited to - a serendipity, a way of the Universe nudging. Who knows.
What I do remember so vividly is actually physically sitting reading the article. I recognised the cover as soon as I saw it while tidying a couple of decades of hoarding in my office last week.
Immediately I was transported back to being 27 and feeling a drive to move, to breathe fresh air, to see more daylight , to grow things. To change my life.
I wonder what things we do in day to day life that, without intending to, spark change in someone else. In someone we perhaps don’t even know..
Like the 27 year old me feeling a little bit suffocated in the city.