Titchy-Titchmarshes give us all hope for the future

Brent geese flying into the Solent for the winter,, having travelled thousands of miles	Picture by Alan Price / HIWWT

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If you’re an old codger like me, you’ll be pleased to know that our prosperous city is home to a crop of little people, who are sowing the seeds of the future. Literally.

This week, at the Portsmouth in Bloom awards, it was a pleasure to meet all manner of folk who while away the hours pruning, weeding and deadheading their yield.

These are people from allotment aficionados to green-fingered goddesses who harbour the talent to harvest a whole month’s worth of food for an entire neighbourhood from a single hanging basket. Well, almost.

Underpinned by the fact that we live in one of Europe’s most densely populated cities makes this all the more impressive.

The event welcomed a gaggle of young smiley, often charming, toothless faces from schools across Portsmouth.

They were out at 8pm on a school night, with endless platters of chicken nuggets and a bounty of cakes.

It was the stuff that dreams are made of, for all of us.

But these youngsters gave me hope where I had started to lose a little faith.

Our media is bursting with generational disappointment.

‘Children don’t know a carrot from a kumquat’ or ‘Kids think spuds grow on trees’, scream the headlines.

Fortunately for us, local children are reaping benefits from gardening in school.

From planting and maintenance to nutrition and cultivation, these Titchy-Titchmarshes have a hands-on knowledge of flowers, fruit and vegetables.

They spoke heartily about their crops and how much they enjoyed tending their harvest.

It’s a pastime that they have opted to participate in and they love rolling up their sleeves and getting stuck in.

As you can imagine, gardening isn’t in the national curriculum.

But, I’d like to throw out a citywide salute to a select troop of secateur-toting teachers that have taken it upon themselves to educate and enlighten children at lunch or after school.

They’re going the extra yard to teach a subject that has more relevance in life than algebra or Pythagoras’s theorem will ever have.