During Spring and early Summer of 2020, when the whole World has been under threat of death from a virus pandemic, I have taken great comfort from having a garden space where I can safely go and enjoy the delights of fresh air, gardening, reading outdoors and watching wildlife coming and going. Listening to birds has been an even greater pleasure than usual. There has been silence in the sky, where busy overhead flight paths normally fill it at certain times of the day with noisy aeroplanes in and out of Heathrow. Instead of frequent noise and fluffy lines across the sky, there has been much clear blue sky with lovely weather, and the sounds of bird song. The garden has also rewarded the senses by a range of lovely colours and scents produced in the flowers … a veritable Rainbow.
Although the garden is now mainly a playground for me, it has been a family affair from the beginning. Jann, our son, made drawings and dug and planted the original Cherry trees when the first garden was designed. I still have his drawn plan hanging framed at the Pres … must bring that home here! Since then the garden, albeit small, has evolved into a long space with three ‘rooms’ linked by winding paths and an Inglenook where the old Holly tree and Cotoneaster still grow.
Since those early days, over thirty years ago, the Front Room has become a shady place with a raised bed made by Dom, red roses added by Mum, and an Arbour that overlooks where the Welsh Runner beans, from Karen and Allan, grow each year.
This year The Inglenook is in a state of flux. It’s lacking its usual bench, made of wooden bits from a bed made by Dom when we had a ‘trendy black bedroom’! It’s a parking place for pots, a pot shed and a table … a through-route to the Blue Hill! I think of it as a work-in-waiting.
The Blue Hill, so-named after the blue pots and Blue Fir Tree from Jann and Judith one birthday many years ago, is in the ‘middle room’ of the garden. This year it managed a cloud of Myosotis in early Spring and I planted Grape Hyacinths too. Those blues, and the blue of the Campanula that grows there perennially, gave an impetus to its name, a name so often subjugated by frothy pink Shamrock flowers and early, pink Geraniums including Cranesbill and Ann Folkard, though happily this year followed by a flourish of Blue Geraniums too. We have yet to renew the path over the back of Blue Hill and have saved the bricks from an old storage heater. That’s a job which we can maybe do together, Dom and I.
The third and sunniest ‘back room’ of the garden lies farthest
from the road. Big bushes that used to grow there have been moved to provide space for crops. This year it is also being used to grow Allan’s beans as well as having a colourful corner of riotous little daisies and a beautiful blue Convolvulus from Lynn. Two added archways support a Thornless Blackberry, and some lovely new Clematis plants bought on our last visit to Somerset in March of this year. Mauryanda Barclayana from Cilla-Jane, also adorns the arches.
I am interested to see how the beans grown in full sunlight fare differently from those in the shaded Front Room. Dom’s work shed, the garden shed and tool shed sit around this end of the garden and a long path from the front gate to the old wall at this end is lined with large pots of bush tomatoes. The ‘Front Room’ is still fairly experimental. Now that it is no longer shaded and dive-bombed by ‘helicopters’ from the big but late Sycamore Tree, it has much potential.
Those of us lucky enough to have gardens, and the time to play in them, have much to be grateful for. I can share this garden with friends who may visit and explore alone, like the little girl who lives downstairs, and I look forward to the times when friends and family can come back and join us in it.
Anne ….. June, Summer 2020