Friday 23 April 2010

Small beginnings

This aubretia, beloved of bees, is cascading out of a tub. The tub was, until a week ago, my only garden. I sulked and complained and moaned about not having a garden. I contemplated buying a house just to get a garden. And then I did something about it.
I screwed up my courage and knocked on a neighbour's door. She's an older woman, and used to tend her garden daily, but she doesn't get out so much now. I explained that I would love a garden, but I don't have one. Was there any chance I could borrow hers?
She looked a little baffled, I have to admit, but she happily agreed that I could borrow her garden.

So now I do have a garden. My neighbours have a habit of complaining about gardens that don't 'fit in', so I can't garden it as organically and permaculturally as I'd like. Old carpet and tyres are most certainly out of the question if I stand any chance of keeping this garden. So I've gone in and cleared all the poor old wildweeds that were growing there happily, except a patch of forget-me-nots that I've kept because I love them, and a patch of some sort of purple flowers the bees seem to like. And now my garden looks like this:

Books telling me how, a list telling me what, and a plan to help me work out where. I haven't a clue what I'm doing, but I'm very excited. Strawberries, herbs, radishes, lettuces. Cavolo nero, nasturtiums, spring onions. Seven metres long by two metres wide to fit them all in. The roses and geraniums already there to plant around. The space on the left that's mostly shaded, a home for spinach and tender salads; the tiny scrap of south facing wall on the right, just enough to squeeze in a tomato.

So far I've planted an edible flower border of marigolds and violas, and the strawberry patch that I could resist no longer. Tomato plants are growing big and strong on my windowsill. Next I shall sow the seeds I've already got; then it's all on hold until my birthday, when I hope to find some garden centre vouchers among my presents.

So, this photo of an anemone sums up my garden well. It's full of promise, about to spring into life. It's slightly intimidating to look at, and any number of things could stop it flowering. And behind it are the long shadows of the memories I have of my grandparent's garden, where I'm sure my desire to grow and nurture plants was born.

I can't wait to see what happens.

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