A few years ago, I wrote a piece for The
Sunday Times about how my front garden
helped cheer up the neighbourhood after the
fi nancial crash. Passers-by smiled, some took
photos; if I was out there, people would stop
for a chat. My front garden turned strangers
into friends; one lady even changed her route
to work just so she could walk past. She said
it cheered her up. Others in the street planted
their front gardens in a similar way.

One neighbour knocked on my door one
summer evening and sheepishly said: ‘I’m
sorry to disturb you, but I just wanted to say
how lovely your front garden is and how much I
enjoy seeing it’. I’d never spoken to her before.
She was a widow and lived alone.
My front garden helped alleviate her
loneliness; we’re still friends to this

If my front garden was able to cheer
up my neighbourhood – imagine
what hundreds or thousands of them
across the country could achieve?
If ever there was a time when our
nation needs to heal, it’s now.

A front garden is one of the few
situations in Britain where we feel
comfortable chatting to strangers –
and that’s where their power lies. If
we all made a small effort, imagine
the positive impact it could have on
society. So why not give it a go…
what have you got to lose?

Nick is an award-winning gardening
journalist. His work appears in The
Sunday Times, The Guardian and
RHS magazine. He is a garden
expert for BBC Radio Leicester.

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 Front Gardens by Nick Turrell