On a sunny spring day our thoughts turn to pricking out our seedlings, and thinning out our cress. Yours too? That’s why we love Ian and Minako Jackson’s new project/website, Desktop Garden. Thrill as they try to rescue their drooping parsley. Sigh as they lovingly nurture their pak choi. Swoon as you see their spinach race valiantly skywards. Honestly, all horticultural life doesn’t have to involve rambling acres, muddy wellies and Monty Don’s manicured bushes.

We love the fact that this micro project is a million miles away from Ian and Minako’s wonderous Art In Liverpool (now in the clutches of the Biennial), and admire the fact that they are so obviously devoting just as much passion and energy to this homegrown hobby as they were to cataloguing the city’s latest installations. Small really is beautiful.

There’s an innate sense of satisfaction in growing stuff from seeds (take it from me: it took me five years to successfully hatch a himalayan blue poppy. And I cried like a baby when the BASTARD snails devoured it after one glorious season), and the trials and tribulations of indoor gardening are every bit as engrossing as a box set of The Wire. Well, the plot lines are a little slower, but all the elements are there.

“We originally used a desk which measures 120x80cm for heavy duty computing but now we only use laptops we’ve swapped our desktop computer for a desktop garden,” Ian says.

“The desk is in front of a large window which faces west, there is good light most of the day but not a lot of direct sunlight until the evening. We see a lot of beautiful sunsets over the river Mersey. The room is heated but it can get quite cold near the window in Winter, especially if it’s windy outside.”

“As we are vegan, we get through a lot of fresh veg and herbs so while there’s no chance of being self-sufficient in this tiny space, it always feels good to pick a handful of basil or a few tomatoes that you’ve grown yourself,” he adds.

We couldn’t agree more. If you’ve never tried, this is the site to head to for inspiration. But even if you don’t know your vermiculite from your phosphate, there’s wonder enough in Minako’s vivid and exciting photography to keep you coming back for more.

But there’s another lesson here, isn’t there? We’re all – at times – guilty of racing around, trying to big up our social media stats, get ahead, plan Big Things and network our way to certain adoration. It’s refreshing to see, in projects such as Ian and Minako’s, something that exists purely for the love of it. No ceremonies, no PR, no bollocks. Just some colourful pots, and the promise of a nice salad.

Going back to your roots has never looked more appealing. We’re off to Gordale to get some pots.

David Lloyd


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