Oh to be in England now that April's there
I love winter gardening: there's little to do. At least, that’s how it seems – as the bindweed shrinks into the soil, the raspberries have done their stuff and hardly anything is trying to grow. But it is a false sense of time-to-spare, for the garden is gathering its loins for a massive spring assault on our sense of leisure.
So the alarm bells have just started ringing and gardening becomes challenging.
“Why didn’t you dig out that raised bed?” “The shed is still in a pathetic mess!” The Good News is that down on the allotment there are plenty of others like us – last-minute diggers and weeders, panicky planters looking over our shoulders at Bill next door whose allotment is impeccable. How does he do it? Is it true that he spends much of the winter drinking cider in his little greenhouse? Whatever his secret, once again he has raised his beds before us and is stealing a march. We can’t all do it.
Tea, cake and garden gatherings
At home, we share a big communal garden, about 25 tall houses sharing one giant space, a riot of trees, bushes, paths through the woods and along the edge of neighbouring gardens and streets, all dominated by two huge lawns. It is a rare oasis and we never stop pinching ourselves to check it is real. Everyone is encouraged to use it – tenants, landlords, owners, visitors and even dogs. It is stalked by cats and foxes but is still a wildlife haven. And what a place for a party! We have to celebrate the Jubilee, whether we love our dear Queen or not, so a June gathering is planned.
In fact, I am delighted to drink to the Queen's health, to celebrate her long and sober life and her odd position as the Head of Many Things. Little of it makes sense, but that is no reason to knock it. Half our relationships, our ambitions make little sense but we stick to them or love them – madly. Organised, national support for an institution that nowadays does little harm and tries to do the right thing – I find that touching. And well worth a communal gathering and a cup of tea.
Photo courtesy of The Potting Shed