After a client in need contacted me last week, I am going back to work All of the gardens I tend are in my own or nearby villages and for all my existing clients the decision on my return has been theirs to make after outlining the best way to keep us all safe while I work in their gardens.
Work gives one a purpose and structure and without it I have at intervals become manic with frenzied activity. Our house is too tidy, the windows too clean, I am in danger of wearing out the carpets with the hoover or our footfall during home exercise sessions after which more hoovering!
The only room to escape the frenzied tidying is the kitchen now doubling as my watercolour studio. Paints, brushes, sketchbooks, water pots and palettes are a permanent fixture even at mealtimes.
For the month of April I have set myself a daily art challenge in my sketchbook to sit, be calm, silent and just breathe at least for a short time! Prompts for these ‘daily doodles’ come from Doodlewash and you are invited to post your offerings on Instagram with the hashtag #doodlewashapril2020. So far I have managed to complete the first four days from these prompts: 1.Chocolate 2.Farm 3.Waffle – we don’t eat these, but do eat crumpets – 4.Ocean
Art has become all consuming in these strange times, dare I say it but as much pleasure and as equally therapeutic as gardening! I am attempting a watercolour landscape of Stourhead from an image taken by the man behind the lens. This is a tentative work in progress as I often muddy the waters where mass foliage is concerned. On the easel in the oil studio outside are my daughters beautiful spaniels another work in progress.
For long-suffering/the man behind the lens ensconced upstairs in his temporary edit suite the days have fared better. Early evenings and weekends though are a different story, he is desolate without the latest live games/fixtures/scores of the sport world.
The to do list….normally fitted in between sporting events has been being ticked off at an alarming rate. Anything made of wood has been treated, the tractor seat has been blackened, wires have been attached to fences, garages tidied, cars have been valeted. Now there is talk of painting the front windows – not on the list!
During one my manic sorting days some lost seeds turned up – Lettuce and Consolida, common name Larkspur – they are at least eight years out from best before. The larkspur seeds have come out from their weeks vacation in the freezer – recommended to aid germination – into the cutting patch and are now damp and cosy beneath the earths surface in regimental rows, this method helps for ease of identifying from self sown weeds. Hopefully they and the mixed lettuce seeds will still be viable and if not all, at least some will happily push up to the light. Watch this space!
Elsewhere – in the dining/seed sowing room, seedlings are appearing, Cosmos, Morning Glory, Ammi majus, Courgettes, Zinnias and Snapdragons. Almost all the seeds sown were again a little past best before – I missed the boat before lockdown – therefore any life is a bonus. Every morning I get a wonderful, warm feeling of excitement as more and more little green shoots of new life rise up to greet me.
Outside in the front garden the old leggy lavender plants we inherited with the house have shown new growth right down at the woody base. They have swiftly been chopped right back to these new shoots and will either live or die. I feel quietly confident they will live having many years ago rejuvenated a similar row of lavender bushes in the same way. I recommend only to be attempted if you are prepared for losses.
Growth in the garden is abundant spring is marching on in earnest….
Almost everyday we are out cycling or when not cycling we walk from our house for our one a day exercise outdoors. We are very fortunate as living rurally it is fairly easy to social distance and often we are lucky if we see handful of people.
The sun is higher now and the swing seat is often in the sun on our return. Yesterday a warm, sunny Saturday late afternoon we sat face to the sun quiet until…..
This from long-suffering ‘Shall we have a beer?’ My reply ‘yes, why not, it’s warm enough, what have we got?’ He disappeared only to come back with two bottles of….surely not…Corona!
Of all the beers we could have had in our fridge we had these! Cheers stay safe…