What emotions do gardens conjure up for me? Mixed I guess. I am the owner of a tiny garden - front and back - which although within a rather splendid conversion of a Grade II listed building (workhouse cum asylum) consist of rubbish turf laid on top of poor soil. And given that I commute to work some 20 miles away, I rarely seem to be there to mow the lawn in the daylight, or when I am there, its raining….so I end up strimming it when it's knee high. Mind you, the clover and poppies added to the biodiversity value this year. Although the neighbours cat "litter" I can do without. So, for my garden, it's mostly guilt - though it looked lovely in the snow, and is a good place for reading the papers at the weekend or sitting out with a glass of something warming and looking at the stars. And just maybe, I will recreate the haven I had in tiny courtyard garden in Truro, with lots of herbs to use and beautiful flowers, arum lilies, white foxgloves, daffodils, nasturtiums and scabious.
But if I think back to my childhood home, then the garden was a place of wonder, fun, food and hard work. There were trees and sheds to climb and hide in or behind. A rockery that could become a theatre with a pond to see frogs and newts in as well as Dad's beloved koi carp. The old beech to laze under in the dappled sunlight, avoiding the beech mast, and then the apple trees to pick a Cox's Orange Pippin before school or the veg plot to plunder before dinner. Nothing beats home-grown runner beans, or tomatoes that are still warm and smell so tomato-y. Although I think the folks were less impressed with the igloo heated by the paraffin heater "borrowed" from the greenhouse. And the anatomically correct snowmen and snowwomen that my brothers made one year.
I may be a useless gardener, for the time being, but I can recall the perfect evenings in my garden in Truro - sitting out in the sun for breakfast, or candlelit for dinner in the summer, or wrapped up listening to the Cathedral bells and smelling the coal fires and looking forward to the nights to come, with my own log fire….where there is a garden there a connectivity with the seasons that most of us seem to lack these days. And then there is always hope, that next season, it will be better or bigger....
So, guilt, wonder and hope. Not even a pair of shoes can beat that!
Luckily for me, and my colleagues at work Kath channels her garden wonder into some serious foraging and baking. And quite often for no other reason than it was the weekend - Mondays are our cake days.
This is the latest in the series on what this gardening malarky really does to our insides beyond filling our bellies with fresh fruit and veg. For more emotions, head over to the happily crowded guest bed...