Notes From Our Garden

REFLECTIONS

Frome, Somerset

August 2020

Nature has a reassuring way of restoring a sense of normality. In times of challenge Matt and I always return to our garden. No matter how confused or overwhelming a situation, the act of growing always lifts our spirits.

The simple act of planting a seed is an inherently hopeful action. It encourages positivity and excitement for the future. Over the last few months, like many of you, we’ve immersed ourselves in our garden. As the realities of lockdown kept us cocooned at home, our garden was a space we could escape too, feel productive and keep track of time through observing the subtle shifts in nature. 

 

In March everything slowed. We adapted our morning routine, swapping the 90 minute commute for 90 minutes pottering in the garden. Watering seedlings and weeding the Spring borders. Out in the garden we were able to observe the small changes each day. Moments in nature that used to seem fleeting now got our full attention. As the garden began to waken we were there to witness the smaller shifts in the season, the Spring bulbs that in the past had always seemed so short lived took on a new longevity. For once we were there to witness them emerge and unfold, appreciating each moment.

We began to reassess what was important to us, we shied away from the overwhelming and confusing information on the news and social media. We put away our phones and instead focused on our immediate surroundings. We’ve always felt so grateful to have a garden and a supportive engaging community. In town the Independent businesses rallied to adapt to the situation, seemingly overnight our local bakery became a grocery store and new websites sprang up allowing us to order from all the independent shops who’s doors were now closed. Our local council sent out flyers to connect neighbours together. There was a reassuring sense that we were all in this together and no one would be left unsupported. 

We felt more connected to nature. Working from home in our makeshift studio, the windows wide open and natural light pouring in, made a welcome change to the air conditioned offices were we normally spent our weekday 9-5. As lockdown became a reality and the town centre emptied and traffic quietened the natural world took centre stage. Birdsong filled the silence, the dawn chorus was sung louder and clearer than it had been in decades. We could look out over the garden during our working day, keeping watch over the border we’d planted last year as it emerged from it’s winter slumber. The cherry blossomed, the magnolia came into flower and the tulips broke through the ground. We spent our evenings digging up more of the lawn, extending the border still further. Researching new ideas, we wanted to support the businesses that were suffering from reduced trade and found a local nursery, Arvensis Perennials, that would deliver plants to our door. They can bundled up in an exciting parcel labeled “Live Plants Handle with Care”. A tightly packed box of 9cm pots containing Stipa’s, Echinops’, Helenium’s, Sanguisorba’s and Salvia’s. Soon there will be no lawn left. The garden is more alive, filled with insects and birds enjoying their new habitat.

During these challenging times it’s been wonderful to see people rallying together, supporting each other and finding a new appreciation for the natural world. By the nation being homebound it’s sparked a new found appreciation for bringing nature into your home. Whether is a large back garden, a shady patch of land at the front of your house, a window box, an urban green space, a mini indoor jungle or simply a bird feeder stuck to your window. So many friends have been enjoying their daily walks, foraging seasonally. First garlic, then elderflowers and most recently blackberries. Bringing them home and making pesto, champagne and crumbles.

 

Never has being connected with nature felt so precious. For us our garden, with it’s low walls, has been a space we can stay connected with our neighbours. It has been both a physical and mental escape during lockdown. It’s a space to create, exercise in, relax in and experiment. It’s an ever evolving space where we can quite happily spend hours. Amid the uncertainty it’s been restorative to immerse ourselves in the garden. To slow down and become better acquainted with our immediate surroundings.

"Our garden was a space we could escape too, feel productive and keep track of time through observing the subtle shifts in nature"

 

 

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