Because it’s about more than the soil and seedlings
There’s no denying it, a potting shed is endlessly useful. As well as being a spot for bringing on seedlings, it’s a place to work on your own soil, keep all your tools neat and tidy and have your seed packets and catalogues stacked away….
But that’s not really why any of us have a potting shed, as any fool knows. For the uninitiated, and those not yet fully throwing themselves into potting shed life, here’s what they’re really for:
Having a grown-up wendy house. No one truly gets too old to appreciate the joy of a tiny little house of one’s own to pass the time in, play in and arrange ‘just so’. A place no one else will try to invade (because it’s too darn small).
Keeping your most delicious comestibles. If you’ve any kind of sense you’ll kit out your potting shed with a few essentials. Nothing too fancy. You don’t want to arouse interest. Just an old Thermos you can take out full of boiling water, a nice enamel mug, a small box of a few interesting herbal teas, and most importantly, a thoroughly uninteresting looking old biscuit tin in which to secrete cakes, biscuits and other treats. A cup of tea and a slice of fruitcake never taste so good as when they’re secret.
Hiding from your nearest and dearest. Yes, we’re sure they’re lovely but sometimes we all just need to disappear for an hour. The potting shed offers that ideal combination of being outside the four walls of the house (thus putting off potential ‘company’ happening upon you) but not actually off the premises (so you don’t strictly speaking have to tell anyone you’ve gone there. If you slip up the garden like a ninja it could be a good half hour before anyone notices you’ve gone.)
Communing with spiders. Because somehow they count as welcome company rather than unwanted intruders. You might look askance at your other half trying to muscle their way into your potting shed but Gerald?! Well, he came with the bricks. And he’s always there to lend a hand (or eight) when needed. Gerald’s welcome to stay.
Enjoying without distraction. Do you find you only ever really do the whole crossword, get stuck into a book or sit and listen to the afternoon play on Radio 4 when you’re not in your own house? That’s likely because there’s always a job you ‘should’ be doing to take the place of what you want to be doing. Get a potting shed and suddenly all that laundry that needs folding, the drain that needs unblocking and the spuds that need peeling for dinner disappear! Out of sight out of mind, see? Who knows? Perhaps by the time you skulk back indoors someone else will have done the chores for you! We live in hope.
Doing some Proper Pottering. After all where can you truly potter if not in a potting shed, sniffing the unmistakable smell of compost, sweeping up, scrubbing the odd pot and arranging seed packets. There’s no place where it’s easier to be gently useful and relaxedly occupied.
If you’re already yearning for a potting shed of one’s own, pick up our July issue, which has instructions on how to make your own potting shed in a day (like the one pictured above). It’s small but very easy to put together and there’s enough room for you, a newspaper, a comfy stool… and Gerald, too.