I have the distinct sense that our picnic table is becoming an iconic image in this blog. But this smallholding is still home, whether or not we retreat with increasing regularity or frequency to our tiny bungalow up in Scotland. And yesterday I was able, thanks to the relative dryness of the growing lawn, to mow neatly and with some precision. This is the garden we carved out of a field, after all, some twenty-five years ago and onwards.
The elder tree is a relic of a planting in the spring of 1992. It deserves its mossy visage. I put the bench swing, an eBay acquisition from the depths of Louisiana’s cypress groves, back in place. The blackbird is finding earthworms in the freshly mown grass as I write, while the jackdaw with its damaged wing is stalking around the feeder for flipped-off seeds. Mr Pheasant arrives, dancing through the cut grass, to see what’s new. A congregation of sparrows, dunnocks and various finches have made homes in the hedgerows and the leylandii/cedar windbreak.
I do love this place. The ‘rooms’ that the hedges have created, the eager little birds clearing out the feeder throughout every day, the daffodils still in fine fettle here, high up on the fellside. The polytunnel with its asparagus shoots, including the four newer crowns which sprouted from seeds three years ago. The potato patch still lying dormant, the plants waiting for copious spring rainfall to emerge in front of the weeds. The chickens, who gave us nine eggs yesterday, though I forgot to collect the handful from the day before. The football goal and the barbecue area which languish now until we can next entertain grandchildren, family and friends. It’s lovely to see it all neat and tidy.
It’s no wonder that I titled the last volume of my science fiction trilogy ‘Daughters in Eden.’ We’re actually only a mile or so away from the district of Eden, in the county of Cumbria, but apart from that, in bright sunshine and with the garden looking fine, it feels rather Edenic, if that’s a reasonable adjective.
Working together with nature, we’ve shared in the development of a delightful garden. No matter what the future holds, the joy of this experience is something that can’t be taken away.