A tiny forest for a tiny garden

The little Fiat Panda is filled with fronds to take to Spring Cottage

Although a large garden is full of delights, it’s also a lot of work. You notice that kind of thing when you get older. And you wonder, can we ever keep this up? Eventually, perhaps, the answer is no, we can’t.

So downsizing from our smallholding in Sparty Lea seems like a compelling option as the workload becomes more onerous. When I’ve offloaded the chicken feed to the rat-proof bins, and filled their hoppers so they can eat freely and constantly, underneath the biosecurity netting (that’s a definite √ job done tick!), we may have just enough room to carry our suitcases and perishable food supplies to our tiny bungalow in New Galloway for a few days. Bringing our tiny forest with us, including a couple of ruby-esque plants from beloved friends, to add to the collection of delightful pots in the ‘garden’ there.

It is a garden, of course, just not as we’ve known it. No lawn to mow, no hedgerows to trim, a few inconsequential weeds to pluck from the gravel sometimes, a bit of watering, and the blossom brings us daily joy. Oh, there’s a new trellis to install for the autumn clematis, and maybe by next year we’ll install an outdoor office space in the guise of a potting shed that will keep my writing fingers busy. Smaller things than we’re used to, but no less cheerful for that.

I’ve awakened with the sunrise this morning, after overdoing it on the chicken and heavy gardening front over the past two days. With sufficient sleep I’m back on form, at last, but that’s the rub of ageing, isn’t it? The tasks somehow get smaller, the large effort broken down into smaller stints of labour, and the rest periods get longer in between. It’s no wonder, really, that my preoccupation these days is mostly with the keyboard, as dancing fingers are something I can reliably depend on. Meanwhile, my glutes are aching from the heavy shifting and my body feels like it’s had enough of that hard physicality for a while.

So we shall finish packing this morning and head off for a few days of respite to tiny land, our lives downsized to a manageable level. I wonder what our forty-something selves would have made of the garden as it is today, had we encountered it back then? Back then it was just an empty field, grazed by sheep and occasional beasts who stuck their heads through the broken windows of the derelict house. It’s so lovely to have had the opportunity to build something, with nature, but it’s also lovely to sit back, relax, and sigh.


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