13 APRIL 2020
Today would have been our first big open day of the year. The temperature is much lower than yesterday and there is a cold wind, but the sun still shines. We have prepared videos to post during the times that the garden would have been open (2-5pm). This is to give people who are interested in the garden and might have visited, a ‘virtual tour’. To our delight people do start to like them. I am feeling more rested today because Meave and Diane very kindly slept in the Annexe last night, and I slept in my own bed (only the 2nd time since January!). I had to re-join them very early, but it was brilliant to have a decent nights sleep! I start my day by planting out some alstroemerias that I’ve been nurturing for some time, and then turn my attention to the potato beds. I do get slightly distracted by the pond on the way where I spotted two creatures that I think are dragonfly nymphs which is exciting.
But getting back to potatoes I have waylaid Meave as a helper… if I don’t get in quick, everyone is taken away on the ‘big’ projects. I suppose creating a ‘paradise garden’ does sound much more exciting than weeding a raised bed in preparation for planting potatoes…however, you cannot eat ‘paradise gardens’ and we might need these potatoes the way things are going! I always need a lot of space for potatoes as I’m planting about 12 varieties and the main crops and late main crops need more space – 2 rows in a raised bed rather than 3 with the 1st and 2nd earlies and early main crop. The weeding is fiddly because some things are being left in e.g Californian poppies around the edge of the beds to be part of the companion planting, and there is also some curled and flat leaved parsley that is still doing well, some chicory and chard and a permanent planting of bronze fennel. When the beds are clear they will need a good soak and plenty of compost added, then I can plant!
Patrick continues with the seats in the paradise garden (which is on top of the vine mount). He decides the tops of them should be plain and not tiled, which I agree with. James and later Aideen continue adding mosaic tiles to the floor and Diane starts putting hardcore into the new path.
I decide that the ‘lockdown’ has shown what I always suspected, that I am completely happy staying inside Church Gardens and not ‘going out’. It is like a beautiful oasis, I am with my family, we all have plenty to occupy us (normally we all work so hard that it is difficult to find time to fit everything in!) and I can be in the garden every day, if it wasn’t for coronavirus it would be perfect and if I am unlucky enough to succumb to the virus, I can sincerely say I was happy at the end of my life… sorry to be depressing! I am acutely aware of how lucky we are, because spending time outside is crucial to getting through this scary situation. This must be taken on board by future planning for housing – people need outdoor space and they should not be living in the sky and if they have to be in a flat, they should have the option of an allotment or at least a balcony.
At the end of the day I pick a massive bowl of spinach to make a spinach and potato curry to accompany the chicken in coriander and I thank God for our good fortune.