Calendula is still flowering, so - snip, snip with my fabulous Felcos - a bit of deadheading is prolonging that. Cowslips and herbs seem to have survived last weekend's frost. Winter veg seems dormant for now, unsurprisingly, as the weather has been on the chilly side of late. And I've dug up and moved a cherry tree. I'm using the term 'I' very loosely here; my neighbour Frank dug, I directed. Community gardening at it's best.
Otherwise time has been spent trying to plan what to grow in the garden this year; taking the time to reflect on the ups and downs of last year, leafing through seed catalogues, being inspired by new plants, listing what's left over in the seed box. It can all get a bit much ... but then there's Pinterest. Pinterest isn't new to me, I've had boards on this site since its infancy after one of my favourite internet illustrators flagged it up on her blog. It's a lot of fun and absolutely distracting, somewhere to keep track of inspirational internet finds - and the perfect place to keep a visual record of the seeds that have caught my fancy (with links back to where I found those seeds).
|* Just a small part of my Pinterest seed board *|
The actual veg patch (formerly a small area set aside in the 1940s for tenants' children to garden) now sits in a sea of paving slabs with the occasional visual relief of a rectangle of grass or two at the edges. The west side is bounded by raised brick beds built against a high brick wall which is where we've planted fruit trees (and perennial cauliflowers). One of these borders is still overgrown with honeysuckle, ivy, dogwood and other shrubs; it needs to be cleared and replanted, all in good time. My problem is my imagination and those paving slabs. I badly want to dig them up; picture the growing space that would open up. Seriously, I'm a bit obsessed about it all: I wake up thinking about how the garden would look if I could turn at least half of it (the half I garden in) into a kitchen garden, a place for people to come and sit or potter round, as I do. Just this morning I saw a photo online of the refurbished kitchen garden in Waterlow Park, a nearby public space in Highgate.
|* Waterlow Park kitchen garden/allotments. © Waterlow Park *|
|* Waterlow Park wildflower border. © Waterlow Park *|
I noticed recently that in the 'gardens' of another of my landlords estates, the tenants had started to remove some of the paving, presumably to create a growing area. That project looked like it had been abandoned but it does give me hope that precedent has been set and I might be able to create something really beautiful here in York Rise. In the meantime, I feel a great responsibility to the people who've lived here and overlooked the gardens for many years. If I was unable, for whatever reason, to carry on, it would all have to be left in a manageable state. I guess that means I have to resist the temptation to dig up the paving stones and move the grass... or will I?