Home My garden Make a gardening bolthole to get you through lockdown

Make a gardening bolthole to get you through lockdown

Feet up in the bolthole!

Blog: Even the tiniest space can be a refuge in tough times – a seat, plants, books and music…

Enduring lockdown can be eased by going for a daily walk or spending time in your garden but what if the weather’s wet, you don’t have a garden or feel so low you can’t face outdoors?

A bolthole with added houseplants is what you need for good mental health. A small space that is just your own, where others can’t bother you and you can gather your thoughts, have a nap or read.

As well as being a place to call your own, it can also serve as an uplifting spot for those who are suffering lockdown on their own.

Believe me, the act of creating a space like this is satisfying and will keep on giving out good vibes to you and yours – everyone seems to have a cool place to Facetime from these days!

Get yourself some houseplants!

Houseplants soothe the mind and uplift the spirit, as well as creating a healthier environment by taking in carbon dioxide and giving out oxygen. Some plants do the opposite, giving you a good night’s sleep – see Caroline Knight’s guest post here.

The conservatory in our house is a long, thin space – it’s a glazed-over path – so while it’s excellent for growing things, at 5ft wide by 30ft long, it’s impossible to have more than one seat in it.

This is especially the case at this time of year when it’s full of plants and is being used as a dumping ground for assorted household crap and ‘useful cardboard’.

It took four hours, but now it’s clean, with a deck chair at the far end and my iPod dock so I can play my music, an integral part of my gardening life. There’s a space for a book, a cup (can or glass) and I’m surrounded by geraniums (Pelargoniums) and new plant life.

It’s restful and a place I can retreat to when being cooped up becomes too much. A simple space that anyone can create anywhere – even if you live in one room, curtain, or section off a bit with a chair, preferably with natural light. Put a plant there and make it your sanctuary.

Lockdown music

Music is a massive part of my life and it’s completely intertwined with gardening. It can make even the dullest job more bearable!

Make yourself a playlist and explore new – and local – artists. Discovering new music is a real spirit booster. My playlist has 90 tracks on it, an incredibly varied mix. I’ve picked out 20 – a hard choice!

Live bands I really miss

  1. Frank Turner: Jinny Bingham’s Ghost. Always a cracking story in songs from the great -folk-punk troubadour and a cracking live act.
  2. Holy Moly and the Crackers: Naked In Budapest. Anthem from the Newcastle-based group’s third album, Take A Bite. I defy anyone not to like them – one of my favourite live bands and singer/fiddle player Ruth is a total inspiration.
  3. The Bar Stool Preachers: Bar Stool Preacher. The last act I saw live on March 1 at Trillians Rock Bar, Newcastle. Riotous, joyful ska-punk that makes me dance! Check out new digital EP Soundtrack To Your Apocalypse with donations to www.nhscharitiestogether.co.uk.
  4. Snakerattlers: All Heads Will Roll. York-based married couple Dan and Naomi play a death rock/garage punk/rockabilly hybrid known as ‘rattlerock’. One hell of a fabulous noise.
  5. Skinny Lister: Raise A Wreck. Folk-punk, shanty punk, call it what you will, it’s always a great night with Skinny Lister. I think there will have to be a rethink about passing the flagon of booze around the audience now…

Stone-cold classics

  1. Blondie: Rapture
  2. Depeche Mode: Personal Jesus
  3. John Grant: Queen of Denmark
  4. St. Vincent: New York
  5. Manic Street Preachers: Motorcycle Emptiness
  6. Roxy Music: Editions of You
  7. The Killers: Mr. Brightside
  8. Arctic Monkeys: When The Sun Goes Down
  9. The Cure: In Between Days
  10. Public Service Broadcasting: Signal 30


  1. Jenny Hval: Six Red Cannas
  2. Queens of the Stone Age: Feet Don’t Fail Me Now
  3. The Horrors: Something To Remember Me By
  4. Maximo Park: Risk To Exist
  5. Franz Ferdinand: Stand On The Horizon
Previous articleScotland’s Gardens Scheme launches virtual garden visits
Next articleVirtual Chelsea competition: win tickets for 2021’s show!
Mandy Watson is a freelance journalist and an incurable plantaholic. MandyCanUDigIt grew from the tiny seed of a Twitter account into the rainforest of information you see before you. Gardening columnist for the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail and editor of the Teesdale Mercury Magazine. Attracted by anything rebellious, exotic and nerdy, even after all these years. Passionate about northern England and gardens everywhere. Falls over a lot.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.