That’s entirely wishful thinking on my husband’s part!

In truth, gardening is the best therapy in the world. For me, at least.

But cheap? Not in this neck of the woods! And I can guarantee there will be no home-grown tomatoes this year. Nor next probably.

The garden comes to us ready tiered in just the right proportions for fair division of ownership. The sunny side of the garden – the largest and lower tier – is lawned with moss, grass and who knows what else and has been democratically designated as Bloke and Boy territory, which I’ve faithfully promised I won’t dig up. So the most obvious place for a greenhouse and veggie beds has been given over to Summer fun and ball games. And rightly so.

I’m not complaining. Far from it. A seasonal bounty of home-grown, organic produce might very well be the holy grail of the serious and conscientious gardener – an ivory, legume-laden obelisk which we should all righteously aspire to; except – strike this heretic down with potatoes – the idea of growing leeks and radishes doesn’t much excite me. It just doesn’t. At least, not right now.

Fruits for crumbles on the other hand… we could all do with more cherry pie in our lives! Except, the local wildlife would decimate any successful crop long before I considered it ripe enough to harvest. Not that I would complain about that either, actually. I love all our feathered and furry visitors – including those some would consider pests – and I want to increase and nurture the woodland edge habitat that original Victorian town planning afforded our garden. So I’m more than happy to be gifted the shady side of the garden.

We moved here in October and cleared out the most dangerous elements of a garden long left to its own devices before Winter set in. The accident-waiting-to-happen greenhouse was extricated from the deepest, darkest corner of the plot and the two raised beds were each lowered several feet by the removal of hundreds of old bricks. The wasps were a lot less inanimate when Bloke unwittingly disturbed them in the old compost heap by shearing the top of their nest off with a spade. They were very unhappy. And they very quickly and very sharply told him so.

There are weird little quirks and finds all over this garden: strewn, smoothed pieces of headstone, areas of seemingly self-retaining raised earth which have long lost their walls, a completely hidden century-and-a-half-standing wall, hidden paths and a small log store constructed, unusually, around the garden tap.

Among the existing planting, which appears to have all ended up in the wrong place, or else is self-seeded and thorny, is the garden’s arboreous saving grace, a stunningly beautiful Christmas tree. A Douglas Fir, I think. It stands proudly and carefully beside a crumbling wall’s edge; it too is strangely sited but all the more interesting for it. It dances joyfully in the wind and is alternately decorated with robins, nuthatches and squirrels. It provides a swaying bridge to and from the old, gnarled branches arching themselves over the back fence from the last sliver of forest still standing since most of the trees were felled to make way for new streets. It is the single starting reference point for the woodland planting scheme I have sketched out in my head and started marking out on the ground. A simple enough concept, if maybe a little ambitious in scale. 🙂

The winds have subsided and the rain has stopped. There may even have been a glimmer of sunshine today. Spring doesn’t seem so far away now and when it finally does arrive there will be hundreds, maybe thousands of new young leaves just waiting to catch the light. I can’t wait!