Garden therapy

Garden therapy

The end of an unusual week for us here at BE. We’ve been filmed for two days and for those of us with single minded focus it can be difficult. I know that when I’m gardening, it’s instinctive. Explaining what you are doing and why can be challenging. I was asked who taught me. I don’t think as simple as a single factor. Yes, my mother and I turned a field into a productive garden so I learned from her as a child, but despite doing a horticultural degree I’ve learned most from being in nature. I can feel the rain coming in. There’s a certain noise that the trees make before the clouds break. The birds go quiet when the wind rises. To be a gardener is to be a physical part of the landscape; an insider looking out. That’s a rare thing to be.

That’s not to say that my to-do list isn’t totally overwhelming, especially this month. The single 6am list by about 9.30 am has become three lists morphing from notepad to phone notes to felt tip scribbles on my left hand (the latter being unsightly and therefore urgent and not be ignored). It was only in retrospect that I realised that shots of my hand seed sowing were probably emblazoned with the word poison.


Robin tells me that from his vantage point BE is starting to look like a productive kitchen garden again.

I must recount a funny story to illustrate the chaos of a gardener’s world this month. Andrew of Henstead Exotic Garden phoned me at 11pm in a panic thinking he’d missed my birthday (right day, wrong month). Where are you? I enquired hearing a train in the background. He’d just finished giving a talk and hadn’t had time for dinner, having shown two groups of visitors around his garden and been gardening since dawn. One of the bemused visitors entered Henstead brandishing a baguette which he’d found on the drive. It had a tyre mark through it’s centre having been reversed over by a van.

‘Oh that’ said Andrew. ‘It fell out when I was unloading the shopping last night and I didn’t have the energy to pick it up.’


I’m sure I’m a hair’s breadth away from reversing over baguettes myself. When making a dash to the local hardware store for some more weed suppressant matting, I realising I was nearly out of fuel. Running into the garage I noticed there was an incredibly strong smell of fuel. The petrol cap was still dangling from the key in my hand.

‘Pump number?’ enquired the lad.

‘No idea’ I replied.

In our less fraught and highly organised building world, the packing shed now has two doors and a space where the window will go. I walked into it and for the first time, could imagine the space in use. It will be light and bright, a pristine place to pack with a view of the fields and landscape beyond. Also the chapel bothy is having a smart new roof. Peter the roofer (and general skilled craftsperson) is also an organic farmer, so I’m enjoying chatting crops and weed tactics. I have a feeling that, like William the painter, now that he’s here, he might find it hard to leave!


Martin’s PROUD face!!

We are all learning so much each day. I caught Benjy with the tools out fixing the spark plug in the lawn mower without asking for help. He was SO proud to have fixed it himself…


I thought that perhaps the huge (!) fan base of blog followers had been missing Adrian. He has generally been really busy mowing, strimming, weeding and generally maintaining the wider estate or helping Martin in his time with us. But he had a day with me this week and here he is, preparing the entrance area for grass seeding and general beautification. Nice.


Adrian, almost as camouflaged as the portakabin! Great tilth developing there – especially considering all the diggers that have trundled over this particular patch of ground. The grass seed will go down by Monday.

And here’s my therapy tip for gardeners (shame I couldn’t get a snail cake). Now, who wants to slice the head off?…


No actual caterpillars were harmed in the slicing of this reproduction.

Enjoy your bank holiday weekend. I shall be barrowing manure and planting pumpkins amongst other things. X

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