That’s the longest blog post title so far and exemplifies a feeling of expanse now that my small world perspective has shifted into the wider context. Having been torn from the grip of the familiar by external forces, I’ve had to answer the door to other opportunities.
After the initial lamentations of a tenant gardener literally losing the plot (see Gone Gardening), am moving along with the rhythm of life to the tune of ‘Good Vibrations’. Surprisingly, new resolutions and plans mean that there’ll still be plenty to blog about and much of it interwoven with plant material!
Take down the boundary walls and with a vanishing sense of ownership, the whole of Central London suddenly becomes my garden. Here there is such a dense network of balconies, basements, street planting, parks and formal bedding, that whilst not being able to plan and plant my own plot, I can enjoy the efforts of gardeners almost everywhere.
This is not the end of digging dirt days either as I continue to maintain and re-construct my neighbour’s small courtyard garden. I’ve also found at least 2 opportunities to volunteer my jobbing services should I wish to and have considered becoming a ‘Friend’ of a local garden park. Even some clandestine guerilla gardening is an option should I feel so anarchic.
Freedom from commitment to a garden will mean more day tripping, short stay breaks and family get togethers in the counties and shires of Suffolk, Surrey, Worcester and York. Given that I’m really a rural girl in all but locale, the sights and sounds beyond the city walls are a strong lure.
Without the intense and regular physical labour of gardening, I’ll most certainly need to exercise in other ways. Running a few laps of one or other of the Bloomsbury squares gives me regular time outdoors, amongst the plants and creatures of the woodland park spaces. This squirrel sat and ate his wastebin lunch down to the last nibble of apple whilst watching me recover breath and composure. I guess we’ll be seeing quite a lot of each other from now on!
As an aside from gardening, my camera has awakened a growing and serious enough passion for me to seek tutelage via a photographing London course. This is such a photogenic city that I should make the most of the landmarks and borrowed landscape as scenic backdrop for people and plants.
By Christmas the plan is to upgrade my clunky computer and prehistoric printer for newer, faster versions. Greater disc space means more room for greedier software and an update from the ancestral Adobe 5 to the CS generation. Since the quasi art of altering images is a favourite pastime, the scope of my creativity could extend even further, even to the point of Chinese painting classes at the community centre.
I can’t pretend that come the Spring I’ll not sorely miss the sowing, planting and planning that stirs us gardeners each year and in my dreams there is still a plot of land waiting for me to plough. Nevertheless a garden is a full-time responsibility and time away from its demands could be liberating. So often the way forward is the way out we did not want to take .
Dedication: This post is for my sister, Jenny, who being older and braver than I took her sense of adventure worldwide to live as an English ex-pat across various continents. Just when I assumed she’d retired to the settled, quietude of Maine, she has moved en famille back to Israel. I do so admire her literal wing and a prayer approach:
” Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it with the handle of anxiety or the handle of faith”. Henry Ward Beecher
I chose these ‘Jenny’ dahliettas simply because of the name and they’ve been brilliant. Like the trademarked series, the ‘Surprise®’ lies in orange-red splashes on paler tipped blooms, aging to apricot tones. Flowering freely from June onwards, even now they are putting out buds though I’ll have to cut them short before the frosts arrive and find a new garden for them next year.