6 Jun 2016

The Garden Beckons

A garden is Man's vanity project, a reinterpretation of nature for our own comfort: growing the edible and cultivating the eye-pleasing. It is an extension of the home, a solace, a place where we unwind and kids play safely. A space where we surrender our thoughts; we let our mind wander and there it takes us down its wondrous pathways... There is the private garden and the public garden, and off the charts is the secret garden, a personal host to the unkempt thoughts and the ordered ones, the wise desires and the wilder ones.

A vegetable and fruit garden is a practical way of attending the land and yields crop to our labouring hand. The practical garden certainly was so for our elders living in rural communities and to which land had to be productive, not stand idle. What else is a garden? A garden is a place of observation - an observatory of sorts - where the little seed we planted rewardingly comes to be, and the pruned shrub has been lent a hand so it shall draw the vigour that will make it strong and prosper. A garden is a testimony for oneself and others. There is nothing more satisfying than to be the custodian of a plant or shrub or tree that an elder lovingly put into soil and nurtured, for future generations to enjoy and care for in turn. For I do believe strongly that there is a little of us that lives on with each plant that we commit ourselves to.

Sources: (1) Where to start? Garden inspiration might nudge you down the local flower shop, or it could just be a walk in the countryside or a spot of sunshine... The Little Potting Shed of Tarporley, Cheshire, is the little sister of The Potting Shed of Alderley Edge, an exclusive leafy Cheshire town south of Manchester. (2) There is a lot of action going on in horticulturist, writer and BBC presenter Alys Fowler's garden and its size (20ft. x 16ft.) debunks the assumption that one shall need ample space in order to grow a wide variety of plants. Alys's compact garden is a punch to the senses; it is packed-full with colours, textures, aromas and edible plants! Her facetious Jack Russell Terrier Isabelle lends a hand, oops a paw! Photography via Pinterest and believed to originate from BBC. (3-5) Britain has some of the most inviting nurseries/ garden centres in the world, replete with oodles of style and Venusian charm, an effortless romantic inclination, and an attention to detail and presentation. This craftsmanship comes together as a living Liberty pattern (or other favourite British florals) or a canvas to a poem, that distill your experience as quintessentially British! And wait a minute! Those nurseries also cater for the palate (oh, the plump freshly-baked Victoria sponge cakes!), and the home in equal measures of style. Petersham Nurseries, Richmond, Surrey is one example of that very British quintessence. (6) Wispy Verbascum like this one pictured by Norwegian lifestyle blog Roser og Patina will be noticed in the cottage garden and stand its own amidst lupins, foxgloves and delphinium. (7) Digitalis purpurea, Foxgloves, Ibid. (8) What came first, chicken or the egg? No worries, a hen is always the bearer of good news: fresh eggs! And it gives the garden and the owner a little company, and a country feel. Hens are friendly, social and curious. Photography by Ali Harper in Georgia, USA, to illustrate the Dandelion Greens and Pepper Omelet recipe designed for Kinfolk magazine. (9) Flowering right now in the wild, on the shaded roadsides of northern Corsica, the elegant and statuesque Bear's Breeches (Acanthus spinosus) can also be grown from a packet, from an online place like Crocus. (10) Pink Sunday Sage (Salvia horminum), a heritage seed by Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds Co. (pictured below).

Further Inspiration: Find out more fascinating facts about Alys Fowler's life, from BBC Countryfile. Also catch an episode or two of her BBC TV series, The Edible Garden, from Archive.org. Alys's eponymous book, The Edible Garden may be purchased from Barnes & Noble.

'If I had a magic wand, I’d like to see what would happen if we’d never had the Enclosures Acts and still had small-scale subsistence farmers, where the land was not owned by the few but by the majority. It would be interesting to watch how that played out and whether our lack of understanding about food and where it comes from has partly been caused by the fact we have capitalised the countryside for the benefit of a few individuals.' - Alys Fowler interviewed by BBC Countryfile

P.S: More garden inspiration from Mirabelle, Mirabelle's Secret Gardens, and La Baguette Magique!

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