Social joy of a community garden . . .

We decided to take a little drive over to the community garden, being developed from an ageing walled garden on the Garroch Hall Estate, to see how the extensive volunteer effort, coordinated and funded by Local Initiatives in New Galloway (LING) was doing. It took a bit of finding but we got there in the end.

Our own downsized patch is composed of a gravel frontage with dozens of potted plants, and to the side behind a privacy wall a nice deck holding the chimenea, a corner pair of wooden seats, a woodshed and a small garden shed. A perfect little downsized place to potter around in, but somewhat disconcerting compared to the acreage at ‘home.’ So it was a delight to wander around the inner perimeter of the walled garden and to experience, vicariously, the efforts of local folks in their outdoor activity.

Nobody else was there, mid-morning on Bank Holiday Monday, but we had a good gander nevertheless. The ancient orchard led on to the little composting toilet, and then around to the vegetable allotments, the polytunnel, the soft fruit section, the long trellis walkway, various compost heaps, and different takes on the no-dig garden philosophy. There were some mighty tidy beds with onion sets and spring greens already looking healthy, along with over-wintered kale and one lovely bed that seemed to be mostly spring bulbs for a bit of colour.

Apparently the walled garden was a venue for the community choir to sing together in, outside during the pandemic restrictions. That must have been an interesting exercise for the birds to experience! We wondered if someday we could manage to ride our bicycles from our little bungalow up into the forest to the community garden, some 4km away. Perhaps.

More likely, for the coming season, we shall enjoy our rest with our sequestered potted plants and venture forth mostly on foot, as we’re able, leaving the sociable gardening joys to the devoted ministrations of the faithful.

On foot yesterday, with my trusty iPlant/Picture-This app, we started off with mountain clematis wrapping itself around our new front fence, and on our soft and casual amble we identified red campion, ragwort plantain, cuckoo flower and lesser celandine. Enough mental and physical stimulation for one morning, we thought.

Perhaps the joy of simply being outdoors will suffice for our wellbeing, for the time being, as we settle in to our downsized place, while spending expansive time back ‘home’ when we can. I remember the Dale Singers performing ‘Where is my home?’ at the Sinderhope Community Centre, and that feeling pervades our sensibilities these days.

It’s a developing consciousness, this phase of our lives, being receptive to inexorable change, accommodating, finding the joy in unexpected places and unexpected ways.

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