Between the cracks

I wandered out into the early morning garden, clad in sandals and dressing gown, in search of The Ball. The dog had hidden the darned thing again and stood at the door grinning, while I did what I was expected to do and looked for it. The Ball… the only one of the two dozen she owns that is no longer a ball but merely a few disintegrating shreds of furry rubber… can turn up anywhere… in any room…even in a cupboard. But, in spite of the innocent looks, she almost always knows exactly where it is and, if asked, will give you clues.

I had tried all the usual places, like behind the stereo or under the cushions, and eventually found it, with a little help from the grinning fiend, tucked behind the compost bin. Thankfully, mine is not a large garden to search… more of a pocket-handkerchief affair, with one small flower-bed and a lot of digging to be done.

Between the ground baking iron-hard and having spent the past year on my son’s garden, mine needs some serious work and more materials. So, I try to keep it tidy, designing wonderful planting schemes in my head that I know will never happen. On the other hand, the little patch of green offers me wonderful surprises every year as I let Nature play. Unlike the dog with The Ball, I am happy to accept what comes.

The hawthorn hedgerow that separates my garden from the fields is heavy with May blossom, its perfume filling the morning air and its branches alive with birds greeting the day. With robins, wrens, blackbirds and the occasional thrush, it is seldom silent. There is even a nightingale that sings there some evenings.

My strawberries died in the heat last year while I was away. I thought I had lost them completely, with just the brittle remains looking rather forlorn and reproachful in their pot and yet, I have a fine crop of self-propagated plants now growing around where the pot once stood.

With a bare garden to fill, I rescued some of the ‘weeds’ from my son’s old driveway before it was ripped up. I now have a whole bank of mullein, whose pale primrose flowers will grow several feet high. The narrow spikes of purple loosestrife, real bee magnets, are growing in scattered clumps in the flower bed and in the gap between window and flagstones.

And, while I have no idea where the reeds, cornflowers or tormetil came from, the few tiny forget-me-nots I rescued now occupy any space they can find, from the drifts around my roses and across the gravel, to the spaces between the flagstones. I have always grown herbs, even when I have had no more than a windowsill to play with… now, while I have planted only sage, Nature has planted me a herb garden.

I even have the first of my tiny rescued roses in bloom, although an earwig seems to have claimed it as its residence of choice, bringing back memories of the deep, velvet-red roses that once framed my great grandparents’ gate. They had a perfume unlike any other and as I child I would sit on the garden wall and breathe in their fragrance… until the day I found myself nose to nose with an earwig.

So, although, in comparison to others I have planted and tended, I could hardly call this a garden… Nature seems to think otherwise and has made one of her own. And I like that. So will the bees and butterflies that love our native wildflowers.

I cannot help seeing how well my little patch of flowered earth illustrates one of the first lessons we learned during our adventures within the ancient, sacred landscape of Albion… ‘open up and get out of the way’. I could have wrestled with the ground, squeezing a few more traditional garden plants from the budget, hefted a couple of tons of hardcore and gravel and turned the space into a ‘proper’ garden… but would the wildflowers then have a place to grow? Would I allow ‘weeds’ to thrive between the paving slabs or smile at the paths the dog is wearing through the grass? Probably not.

We learned also that ‘leaving space for spirit’… letting the moment and the land work their magic in untrammelled freedom…  allows strange and wonderful things to happen. In consciously relinquishing the need to control, beauty creeps in through the cracks of normality…or, in this case, into every gap it can find.

Nature is a wonderful teacher and, at this time, when so much of our freedom has been curtailed, my little garden reminds me that life and beauty will always find a way.

36 thoughts on “Between the cracks

  1. I much prefer a wild garden look over a manicured garden. Much like my life which is not that organized and takes off in unplanned directions. Your garden looks lovely and a great place to hide a ball!!

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  2. People talk about the end of the Earth. What they really mean is the end of humanity on Earth. The planet will go on with or without us, replenishing what we’ve destroyed.
    Your garden sounds beautiful, Sue. A haven for the bees and butterflies, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are always small creatures in the flowers here… even if one of them is large, black and furry 😉
      Yes, we think of the end of our world… which, for us at least, will be the end, but Nature will continue. She always does.

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  3. So beautiful Sue. We bought a box of flower seeds and just threw them into a makeshift flower bed. The result was colourful and pretty. We’ve left it alone to do its own thing this year and again it is stunning. The garden finally looks like a garden. We had a strawberry plant somehow get in the mix and the blackbird pinched the one and only fruit. There’s a mesh round to now and it is oozing with flowers, so I’m hoping. The gooseberry bush has tiny peas on it, and two of our rose bushes have buds. Once Hubby gets his shed, we’ll invest in a petrol mower which will be a lot easier to use than the little electric one we have that valiantly tries to do the business but flattens more than cuts.
    If the veg all takes off this year, we’re thinking of making the bottom half of the garden purely for that, but the soil is clay and it tends to get waterlogged so we shall have to see.

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      1. oops about the lawnmower…………… Ours finally died a month or so before we moved out of the cottage, so the grass was ‘rather long’ as there was no way we were buying a new mower to cut someone else’s lawn!

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  4. Some plants commonly called “weeds” are quite beautiful, even bindweed (Convolvulus). I have quite a few weedy things in my garden and admire their toughness even while I make sure they don’t seed around too wildly. I’ve even speculated that one could make an ornamental garden entirely of specially selected weeds. Haven’t tried it yet, though.

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    1. I agree, Audrey…and have done so in the past. Red valerian is one of my favourites for that… and yes, bindweed is lovely… just a tad inconvenient when it overruns everything in its path 😉

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  5. I very much like this, perhaps because it is reminiscent of my day yesterday, in my own garden, taking a break for mango popsicles and listening to the wind chime softly calling. It was a very good half-hour of relaxation before going back to fight the dandelions!

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  6. You don’t need a lot of space to have a nice garden – you just used your creativity! I take it Ani likes that particular remnant of a ball in particular…

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