As I sit in our Quiet Garden on May 19th I can hear some traffic rumbling away but not enough to drown out leaves rustling in the cold breeze. I’m watching the seagulls wheeling and dealing, catching the currents and am reminded of Jonathan Livingstone Seagull’s speedy exploits, read to us in assemblies at Truro Grammar School in the 1973. These gulls seem less driven than Jonathan yet just as gymnastic , a bit Roger Federer to Rafa Nadal.
Looking down, I watch ants and woodlice scurrying across the stone and right by my side a length of spider’s web is battling to hold on against the wind.
If you know the garden you probably want to know what’s new. Well we have a fittingly beautiful new bench with a shiny plaque which says
In loving memory of
Thomas Austen Whiskerd
1927 – 2019
No doubt we will want to bless this bench when we’re back together again.
The two empty beds have been manured and one is full of re-homed irises. They struggled to compete with the tree but this year they’ve enjoyed the new space and light and several have flowered deep-purple. Indeed, purple has been the season’s “in” colour – Columbines, Bugle/Ajuga, Honesty but they are now about to be overtaken by pink in the way of Thrift, Chives, Dainthus and Cranesbill. But not I fear by the new should-be pink of Lambs’ Ears which is struggling to make it. A garden is always the great teacher when it comes to accepting failure as the companion of success.
Let’s do a little more celebrating though ! The Bronze Fennel looks like 2020 might be its year when it grows up. Some powdery-blue Forget-me-not has got its foot in the door but will have to be watched. One or two lovely bright yellow Welsh poppies stand proud and the Solomon’s Seal has been happy enough in its secret hidey-hole. Val’s delicate Clematis is flowering as is Marjorie’s pink Cranesbill but I’ve told you that already. Last but not least , the regular supply of fag- ends has dried up! Hurray, one less job to do!
Just before lockdown I did quite a bit of chopping back. Result, we have a humongous pile of garden waste still waiting for a kind car-owner (plus trailer even better) to volunteer to go to the dump post -May 28th.
Apart from cigarette-ends, my least favourite job has to be weeding the cracks between paving stones. I am just about to start on these little clumps of grass using the method I call “hoiking out, scalding and hoping it won’t come back”. But wait, I think someone’s already started! In “The Tailor of Gloucester” it was mice who crept in overnight to give a helping-hand so ” Thank you” to our secret little mouse.
If there are any other willing mice out there without a key , please do let me know and we’ll sort out access. Perhaps there is even a mouse who is a dab-hand at pointing the paving!
Just over the garden wall, the ash trees , always a slow-starter, are now out in leaf. Alongside copious ivy, these natives provide wonderful cover for urbanite robins, blackbirds and magpies. A few weeks back a friend in the Grassmarket reported hearing an owl. Semi-alert, I’ve now heard it down in Castle Terrace.
Next time, names…..