My name is Melanie. I am 34 years old and I live in the Paderborn area of Germany with my husband and two small children. My passion for gardening started about ten years ago, when we moved into our first flat, which had a balcony. When I was little I was fascinated by the colours of my grandmother’s geraniums. So when we had a balcony for the first time, I got some flower pots and planted my own geraniums. Then I bought a tomato plant as well, just to see how it would grow and bear fruit.
The taste of our first self-grown tomatoes was amazing, so we started planting chilies as well. It was fantastic to grow and harvest our own produce on the balcony, but we soon reached a point where we wanted a real garden, with more space to have flowerbeds and maybe a small fountain as well. We also wanted some more space to plant vegetables, so the children could learn that vegetables actually grow and don’t come from the supermarket or corner shop.
We have owned the house for a year now, and have been working in the garden all through summer. The garden is 600 square metres, and when we first moved in it was overgrown with weeds and thistles, and not suitable for the kids to play on. There was also a gigantic bamboo plant in the garden, which did not have a root barrier and had expanded into all directions. A very tall pine tree was unfortunately rotten, and had to be removed. My father-in-law helped us with his excavator and big green waste container. That first phase of the garden transformation was really intense and exhausting. When I saw the garden afterwards I thought ‘oh my god, that doesn’t even look like a garden anymore!’
But once we started seeding the lawn things improved. It was an interesting time. We had to explain to the children why they could not play in the garden, and that we had to wait for the grass to grow. It took a little while, but when the grass began sprouting we also planted a hedge and built gabions to make the garden a bit more of a private space.
In the summer we spend a lot of time in our garden. We often first go outside around mid-morning, but we will be in the garden until at least early evening. We play games in the garden and have picnics until it’s time for the kids to go to bed. Daddy unfortunately has to work most days, but he usually joins us in the afternoon.
For the children the garden is a dream. Even in bad weather they can put their wellies on, go outside and do what they want. They both have their own bed where they can plant flowers or vegetables if they want. If they feel more like playing there is a sand pit. I love watching them playing and growing up in the garden, as well as working with the soil and plants. The garden is pure luxury for us. It means freedom and quality of life.
Our garden is still very much a work in progress, but it is already a huge improvement compared to when we first moved here. It provides a better quality of life now and we feel really happy here, even though there is still a lot of work to do.
Without glyphosate we would not have been able to transform the garden the way we did. It allowed us to remove the bamboo plant and helped a lot to clean things up before seeding the new lawn. We would definitely have had, and would still have, a lot more work in the garden without glyphosate. We’d have to weed manually and dig the ground over to create new beds, which would take a lot more time. I want my garden to bring me happiness, joy and quality of life. But I also want it to be simple. Otherwise things would be difficult to manage with the children and everything else.