Friday, February 13, 2009


Wychwood is, I think, a very good name for a garden at the end of a lane at the foot of the central plateau.

It is a good name for a place with a labyrinth and a creek at the bottom of the garden;
it is a good name for a place that is quiet and elegant and intriguing.

I have no garden, really, at the moment. The dry and lack of time means I've some islands of brave plants soldiering on in an expanse of dust and, in the better places, mulch.

Sometimes I feel gardening is about being humble in the face of my own failure; sometimes I think it is about being fatalistic about those failures (but then I walk past an old, old woman bending down to pull up dandelions from her driveway). Sometimes, though, it is inspiring and exciting when I walk through a place that is loved, where plants are valued and trusted to seed and spread, and I see a gardeners' grace in the time, cost and care taken to nurture a piece of land that, of course, can't belong to them forever.

The stories of old people planting trees, knowing they'll never see them grown, are lovely for their message of faith in a long future that can't be claimed. But equally beautiful is the thought of building something for the time being, knowing it may not last out the decade - or the year - or even, quite horribly, the week - and doing so anyway because what there is today matters as much as the possibility of the future.