by Sophie Gordon

Fuchsia roses zing
Orange sparks from green fingers
Concrete – coloured in.

Transforming my patch

A lot has changed in the past year. Pretty inevitable, given the pandemic.
But a year ago, I couldn’t have predicted the following sentence. 
I’m a gardener now. 

I water, weed, deadhead and prune.
I requested gardening gloves for Christmas.
I know what a naturalising bulb is (I think).
Gardeners’ World is gospel. I won’t miss an episode.
Evenings are spent pondering and planning the perfect plants to thrive in pots. 
One day I was even seized by the need for a pair of special gardening dungarees.

The seed was planted in lockdown. 
Cultivated with some help from my parents. 
Now, the obsession has taken root. 

Square by square, I’m colouring in my grey concrete-slabbed excuse for a garden in north-west London. 

Zingy pink roses now ramble over what used to be a sad patch of soil with a stubborn old tree stump. In spring, the crocuses, daffodils and tulips I’d planted in October popped up from planters – previously discarded and strewn round the back of the building. Wallflowers, geums and achillea have brought more bees, and I love their friendly, bumbling hum when I’m pottering about out there. 

And I’ve come to appreciate what was always there too – hidden and choked by dense, bloom-less weeds, or simply overlooked. Now I’ve let the light in, clouds of Mexican fleabane puff out from the smallest cracks in paving, and bluish purple clutches of campanula bellflowers tumble from gaps in the wall. Self-seeded aquilegia revealed itself one day, like buried treasure.

I’ve hung bird feeders from our cherry tree, whose spring blossom and autumn glow I’ve always loved, even when I was blind to the potential of what surrounded it. Now, coal tits and blackbirds pop by for a snack and nestle in the branches. And after persisting with niger seed and nearly giving up hope, goldfinches now grace the garden with the occasional visit. 

So, what’s my pledge? To keep going. I want to keep bringing in more colour and life so that my little patch is doing its bit in the mosaic of urban gardens. 

Can I keep it up? I don’t think there’s much choice in the matter. 
I’m a gardener now. 

Read Sarah Hill’s 26 Habitats gardens centena and essay.

Read Lynda Relph-Knight’s 26 Habitats gardens centena and essay.

One thought on “Gardens

  1. Oh this is just lovely and you do sound every inch the gardener now Sophie. Growing things is so rewarding and I think your new found enthusiasm for gardening will inspire others to follow suit. Love the splash of colour in Lydia’s drawing too!

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