This week we interviewed Ben, a gay 15 year old member of the Q42 Project, about his love of plants and gardening.

Q42: Hi Ben, why don’t we start with you just telling us a bit about yourself?

Ben: I’m an outgoing and adventurous person who enjoys shopping, spending time with friends and growing house plants.

Q42: Tell us about your gardening and about your plants.

Ben: At the moment I have cacti, succulents, palms and other other house plants such as yucas, orchids and bonsai trees. I also grow some herbs such as sage. To look after my plants I water them regularly and feed them from time to time when they need it. I also trim the plants if they get too big and propagate some if I want more of a plant. I first got into gardening a few years ago because of how peaceful and pretty they can be. When getting new plants I usually go for ones that stand out because they tend to look a bit different or wonky. I choose these because they add a uniqueness to my collection. My favourite plant would be my string of pearls because of how they dangle and grow really long tassels.

Q42: How does your gardening help you express yourself? Especially as an LGBTQ+ person?

Ben: Gardening helps me express my love for nature and all things different. It also helps me as an LGBTQ+ person because I find that it differentiates me from other people.

Q42: How does gardening support you with your emotional health and wellbeing?

Ben: Gardening is helpful for my mental health because it teaches me to be patient with my improvement and recovery. I also find it very grounding to be able to care for a plant when caring for yourself can seem hard.

Q42: How has gardening been especially helpful for you during the UK lockdown?

Ben: During lockdown gardening has been useful for me because when I feel like life has come to a complete stop I can look at my plants and see how they have grown and I realise that the world is still functioning and carrying on.

Q42: Do you have any hopes or plans for the future of your plants/ gardening?

Ben: In the future I hope that I will be able to make my whole living space more immersed with plants. I also hope to get even more plants to decorate my room with as time goes on. Another thing in the future I would like to get is my own greenhouse or conservatory to grow even more.

Q42: What would you say to recommend gardening to other people, or suggestions to someone who may be interested in being a gardener?

Ben: To see the effects of gardening on yourself takes time and that patience is something that always ‘grows’ with ‘thyme’. As well never water your plants too much.

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