Through the garden gate: Reader photos

Take a walk through our readers' gardens as they tell us what they mean to them and what life lessons they offer.

As part of our community summer special, we asked you, our readers, to share photos of your gardens and what these spaces mean to you.

We know that gardens are more than the sum of their parts. They can be a space for growing sustainable food, a haven for nature; gardening can even be a political act. But one thing that has popped up time after time in the amazing responses from readers is how they make us feel. In this photo-led feature, take a walk through Wicked Leeks’ own virtual community garden and discover what we can learn about life through the simple act of sowing seeds and nurturing our own spot of nature.

Clockwise from left, photos from readers: Jenny Tozer, Jenny Harris, Den Howlett, Sue Dean.
Clockwise from left, photos from readers: Jenny Tozer, Jenny Harris, Den Howlett, Sue Dean.
Liz Budgen and Dawn Langley



“We work in a primary school which is constantly noisy, busy and stressful. The garden is our oasis, a place of calm and harmony where plants, livestock and art works create a refuge of peace and stillness.” Liz Budgen and Dawn Langley.




“My garden means a place where I go to completely switch off. It also means supporting wildlife (resident birds and hog) and pollinators and producing homegrown food, so switching off usually looks like pottering around with a long list of jobs I want to do for the next project.” Ellen Tout.

Valerie Cook Harris



“When the world seems to get crazier and more bizarre, my small garden is an oasis of greenery, animals, birds and bugs.” Valerie Cook Harris.

Clockwise from top left, photos from readers: Margaret Beaman, Julia Lyons, Fran Wakefield, Lyn Liversidge, Helen Vidotto.
Clockwise from top left, photos from readers: Margaret Beaman, Julia Lyons, Fran Wakefield, Lyn Liversidge, Helen Vidotto.
Jenny Sellers



“My tiny vegetable garden on my balcony has provided, alongside a bounty of courgettes, a reminder during a tricky time that small actions like sewing seeds bring joy later down the line. It also provides a sense of self-sufficiency and calm in bustling London.” Jenny Sellers.

Janet Butler



“My garden is my escape from life’s traumas. It helps keep me sane.” Janet Butler.



“My garden is my place of peace and tranquillity. Listening to the bird song and the bees takes me away from what’s going on around me that’s troubling me. Whether it is ten minutes or a couple of hours, the benefits are priceless.” Karen Stevens.

Nina Pullman



“We dug a pond into our garden mainly to encourage frogs and help deal with our slug problem. But it’s actually become one of my favourite work breaks to wander down look at the flowers, smell the water mint and listen to the sound of a little solar powered fountain.” Nina Pullman, Wicked Leeks editor.

Jack's garden



“Many an outdoor meal and party has been had on our small terrace in London, providing a much needed space for intimate social connection in a busy city. I dream of a place to call my own and put down roots.” Jack Thompson, Wicked Leeks staff writer.

What has gardening and spending time in nature taught you about life? Let us know in the comments.

More on gardening


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  1. How good to see people’s gardens! I would like you to make this a regular feature and if you tell me how: I’ll send photos of mine. I have a small town cottage garden designed to feed us and protect wildlife. It’s beautiful and productive, even in this weather. Also, like other people, it’s my place of happiness and peace.

  2. I live in a housing estate in the Scottish Borders and have converted much of our garden to growing fruit and vegetables.
    We also brew our own beer and wine.
    It’s so frustrating to see virtually nobody growing any sort of food, preferring to use garden space as an outside room, which is fine, but why not use part of the garden to relearn lost skills?
    I work in food retail and over the years have witnessed how vulnerable the supply chain is.
    From the fuel strikes of 2001 to the pandemic, the ‘just in time’ system is a finely tuned machine which can easily come off the rails, leading to shortages. Heaven help us were the country to face a real crisis with imports stopped and transport limited..

  3. Gardening and spending time in nature has taught me to think circular. Nature never wastes anything, and that’s why all my kitchen waste goes back to the allotment for the compost, and I use the local refill shop to avoid buying packaging that just gets thrown away. I use cardboard instead of plastic sheeting to cover unused beds, and I welcome the insects, even the pests, because I know their predators and the wider food web is taking place on my plot. Thanks nature, for your patience as we (re?)learn your wisdom!


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