If you’re a regular viewer of This Morning, you’ll be familiar with Daisy Payne. As the show’s resident gardener, she’s on hand to offer tips and tricks to aspiring gardeners, with fans of the show impressed by her wow-worthy knowledge and sunshiny nature.
While Daisy is always positive on the show, her foray into gardening came after a difficult year. Here she explains how spending time in nature helped her overcome grief following heartbreaking loss.
After I finished studying in London, I was desperate to escape the city. London had always equalled success to me, but I found after living there for a few years and working busy jobs, I hadn’t found happiness, so I moved back to the West Country.
I bought a little house and with it came a mud patch. It can’t be described as a garden in the first instance, because it simply wasn’t one. It was a new build rubble rectangle and required serious work, but when I started to see the fruits of my labour, I was completely hooked.
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I later grew out of my new build garden and took on an allotment. The rest is, as they say, history. But I am fast-forwarding somewhat.
A lot happened in the time that I am attempting to gloss over. Because of course, there have since been some very tough times and I naturally find them difficult to talk about.
While I was throwing myself into gardening, I tragically lost my grandfather to Covid. He was one of the many elderly people in the UK living in care who we lost.
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When my mum phoned me to tell me he had tested positive, I was walking Ernie, my cocker spaniel. I fell to my knees. We knew the inevitable would happen and there was absolutely nothing we could do about it. The lack of control and the utter devastation was hideous, so I turned to the garden to find solace. The day he died, a little bird flew into my garden (we had never had robins in the garden before), and I knew he was out there with me.
In an instant, the garden felt even more special than it had before. Gardening helped me manage grief – and I choose the word ‘manage’ purposefully.
Not long after losing my grandfather, my 4ft-something petite Nanny Sheila also passed away. Her heart broke the day my grandfather died, but she soldiered on for as long as she could and I’m so happy she was here to see me make my debut on This Morning.
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I’m not sure grief is something you ever fully ‘get over’, it just becomes something you live with, gradually getting a little easier but occasionally hitting you in the face abruptly.
Spending time in the garden helped me process loss. There’s something healing about getting outdoors, with no makeup on, in your scruffy clothes, planting bulbs, clearing weeds or putting up plant supports. It feels liberating and freeing, especially when I leave my phone inside so there’s no scrolling or comparing myself to others, just freedom.
I found comfort in thinking that our lives are a little like the seasons. Through every tough winter, we can be reassured that spring is on its way and when it arrives, it fills us up with its vivid colour and the hope it brings.
I now live in a cute small cottage with a garden that was out of control, overgrown and in a real mess when I first moved in.
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I’ve spent the last 12 months uncovering its secrets and restoring its beauty. There’s still a lot to do, and I of course want to make my mark on it!
As well as helping me manage grief, working on the garden helps me take time out of my now very busy work schedule. It takes me away from the mindless scrolling to enjoy the beauty of the natural world. I have two robins that visit my garden every morning – I like to think it’s my grandparents checking in on me.
Gardening is my craft and my job, but it’s also my escape. It’s where we can all find peace if our minds are busy, anxious, or if we are struggling. You really don’t have to be an expert to feel the benefits of gardening. And you never know – you might just feel closer to the ones you’ve lost, as they fly by.
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