I had a garden five years ago which I had to abandon when I divorced. It wasn’t a large garden, more a Edwardian pocket handkerchief, but I had started to fill this with flowers I could cut, dry and bring into the house. Even when they faded and dried, they were re-cycled into linen bags to fragrance drawers and wardrobes, or with a touch of oil be invigorated to make pot pouri.
By a twist of fate, and risky decisions I now find myself with a large piece of French meadow, wild and wonderful, its stealthy brambles and tall majestic thistles warning me that it will be a hard task to transform this to the garden I have so longed for.
But I will not be transforming it in its entirety. The very nature of this land, bordered on all sides by beautiful countryside, is to tame it just a little, to plant once again the wild flowers that I can cut and fill the house with fragrance and prettiness, and vegetables to roast and pickle and preserve for year round deliciousness [there is nothing so lovely than a pantry full of colourful jars with hand written labels – “Creamy Cauli Chutney”, “Watch-Out Hot Chilli Sauce”, and “Two Many Tomatoes Relish”].
This year we cleared and made a space for the veg. Next year its cleaning the land, clearing out stones from old buildings lost in the land, mixing with manure kindly given by our neighbour who has a beef farm, and marking out where the patches of wild flowers will be sown. It feels overwhelming going from pocket hankie to acre self-sustaining, but I feel very lucky. Its never too late to make changes in your life and I cannot wait to see the results.