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Every garden is a chore sometimes, but no real garden is nothing but a chore
-Nancy Grasby

My world just got a whole lot bigger

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.

winds of change - to cling like ivy or open to opportunity's knock?

new directions

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!

Bloomsbury festival - Russell Square

London park gardens

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.

Dianes garden - a work  in progress

Digging for Diane

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.

house and country garden in Surrey

England's country gardens

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.

apple eating squirrel in Tavistock Square

healthy exercise

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!

petunia windowboxes -old Bank of England, Fleet Street

photographing london course

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.

watercolour filter - nasturtium seedpod

altered images

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.

autumn colours

bright future

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 .

Jenny Dahlietta® Surprise® Dahlia

for Jenny

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.

©Copyright 2011 Laura Thomas.
All rights reserved. Content created by Laura Thomas @PatioPatch

28 comments to My world just got a whole lot bigger

  • Hi Laura, Lovely to hear you back with a spring in your step – and what a vast wealth of opportunities you have before you. I hope that you enjoy your new-found freedom, and look forward to continuing to hear your adventures and enjoy your creativity.
    Sara x
    hillwards read my post..Wordless Wednesday – Autumn CatsMy Profile

  • Dear Laura, I am looking forward to the new focus of your blog! Life does have a way of stopping us in our tracks just when we have become settled in our way, then sending us in new directions. May your life be blessed and full of new adventures!
    debsgarden read my post..Fall Foliage by Train and Glider PlaneMy Profile

  • Your site was always about so much more than the garden and gardening, Laura.
    And as a “would-be” anarchist I’m looking forward to one or two posts about guerrilla gardening….
    Janet at Planticru Notes read my post..A murmuration of starlings…My Profile

  • Glad to see that your recent changes have inspired you to shake things up and look out for new and varied opportunities. I am looking forward to future posts :-)
    easygardener read my post..Blooming Friday – It’s a TrapMy Profile

  • Laura – Glad to see that you’ve bounced back. Looking forward to reading about your escapades. I’m guessing that guerilla gardening is not as naughty as it sounds, I’ve that Duchess Camilla does it.
    b-a-g read my post..Butternut Squash (02 NOV 2011)My Profile

  • I await your posts eagerly – this sounds all good.

    Perhaps you can plan a special Spring Break away, to get you over that hiccup. Perhaps there will be Laura’s Patch by then, and if not yet, your view on life is fascinating to read.
    Elephant’s Eye read my post..Winter Chill at Paradise and RosesMy Profile

  • So glad you’ve taken the positive approach to your dilemma – eveything will work out for the best I am sure. Looking forward to your new posts.
    elaine rickett read my post..Dying in Bright ColoursMy Profile

  • You sound so upbeat that I am thrilled. I would love to read in depth blog posts about all the gardens in London accompanied by your gorgeous photos.
    Carolyn @ Carolyn’s Shade Gardens read my post..Happy Birthday Carolyn’s Shade GardensMy Profile

  • I have only just caught up with your recent blog posts, Laura. I just can’t believe that your efforts in creating such a beautiful garden have not been appreciated or valued as they should have!! Health and safety be blowed! What about the bewitching sight of such a beautiful garden space!

    I’m so glad to hear the sense of adventure and excitement behind the words in this post though. I know you won’t be losing any blog followers because you’ve lost your lovely garden. We will all be looking forward to the new direction of your future posts.
    Bernieh read my post..Flower Flaunt Friday … Perfume In The Air.My Profile

  • Laura, I love that you’ve found the positive in all this. I’m certainly going to enjoy your forays into the surrounding environs. London and Surrey are both ‘home’ to me. Born in one, grew up in the other! I too am always a rural girl at heart, but there’s something about city architecture I’ve always found intriguing. It sounds to me as if you’ve found some of the freedom for yourself that your sister has had for some time. The freedom to travel where life takes you.
    Curbstone Valley Farm read my post..Greenhouse Irrigation: The Propagation BenchMy Profile

  • Oh, those Jenny’s are gorgeous! They caught my eye right away as a read your blog. And a wonderful tribute to your sister! I’m so happy your gardening canvas has expanded! Cheers!
    PlantPostings read my post..Ephemeral daylightMy Profile

  • Cat

    What a beautiful inspiration you are, Laura. I will delight in learning more about your beloved city and am also eager to hear more about your experiences in your photography course. The ways in which you’ll take advantage of your freedom sound enchanting!
    Cat read my post..30 Day Challenge ~ Thanksgiving ~ Days 3 & 4My Profile

  • Wonderful.
    Even guerilla gardening!
    Mmm! I spelled it gorilla last time I commented though with all you seem to be taken on maybe it will need that much energy.
    Obviously you need to set up as a small garden landscape designer?
    Duncan Darbishire read my post..THERE’S NOWT AS GOOD AS MUCK – AND A PERMMy Profile

  • You’re such an inspiration Laura. You truly are turning your changed cisrcumstances into a new set of opportunities. I’ve been told – but don’t know for sure – that the Chinese character for ‘crisis’ can also be read as ‘opportunity’. Seems to be that you are embodying that. Good luck with all your new ventures, whether running with the squirrels, photographing the city or gorilla gardening. Look forward to reading all about it!
    Janet/Plantaliscious read my post..Word for Wednesday: EphemeralMy Profile

  • Am very touched by having so much support, good wishes and kind words from you all. The least I can and will do is thank you with a reciprocal visit
    - as Janet/Planticru points out, PP has never been a gardening only blog but as per Diana’s suggestion wondering if there should be a name change to mark the change of direction? I feel a poll coming on ;)

  • Laura how wonderful to read your inspirational post….to have such a positive perspective…I eagerly await your posts as you walk through this new door on a wonderful journey…
    Donna@Gardens Eye View read my post..LightMy Profile

  • I am so glad you have found a way forward, you sounded so down when you lost the tenure of the garden. What a wonderful wealth of opportunities, I almost want to give up my own garden to do the same

  • Laura, you are making lemonade out of oranges I see. Make the best better from that which was worse. I am glad you are forging forward with your camera and editing software too. See my post Sunday night EST for an opportunity to use your photo skills. For all of us loving to take photos.
    Donna read my post..23 Farm FotosMy Profile

  • Just read your dedication. Hit the nail on the head with the quote. Jen is hanging on to both handles while I have both hands on the one of faith.
    Love you lots

  • Laura so glad to hear that other opportunities have come knocking on the door for you to explore. It seems to me that you have indulged in some creative and liberating lateral thinking. Looking forward to hearing about what you get up to in the future. Great quote from Henry Ward Beecher.
    Anna read my post..‘A Day In Autumn’My Profile

  • - even if not true Janet, a nice analogy.Running with squirrels would be a good category – thanks
    - it’s true, am feeling positive Donna which overshadows the negative rather than makes it disappear ;)
    - feels quite liberating Helen but you would miss your allotment far too much
    - a great saying to remember Donna. thanks for the reminder and invite re the EST
    - had to take my blinkers off Anna in order to see that not everything will be lost with changes. Q thi week for ABC wed, see you there!

  • Laura, I feel truly lifted with your renewed sense of energy. I am sure that I read recently that London had more parks and green space than any other city in, now, was it Europe or the UK. Can you imagine how much you would have to talk about even if you just got a little in to guerilla gardening. alistair
    Alistair read my post..Clematis Triternata RubromarginataMy Profile

  • Loved reading your post. I’m glad you’ve found new ways of getting your gardening fix but also that you realise the advantages not having to garden can bring. I was trying to explain to a friend the other day that having an allotment is a real commitment. She thought she’d only need to spend a few hours a week to produce lots of high quality food. Good luck your new projects and plans. I look forward to reading about them.
    wellywoman read my post..Wonderful Woodland WalkMy Profile