18th April 2020

As I sit down to write my latest notes and we face another three weeks of lockdown time seems to be moving very slowly; but, in another way I also feel that weeks are flying past. We are already half way through April and the spring is well and truly with us. The garden is burgeoning and my sparrows are clearly feeding newly hatched young as they are constantly in and out of the garden, gathering food and pulling up grass stems to repair damaged nests.

When planning your garden you can treat it simply as another room of the house. This is how the great landscape gardeners looked at the gardens around our stately homes.

Throughout the autumn and winter the garden is not a great place to sit but you can prepare it for the warm days of the spring and summer by looking at the practical uses of an additional room on the house. It can be used to dry the laundry, store the recycling and composting the kitchen waste. My shed is a great place to keep the tools and other bits and pieces, and of course you can create some seating areas and even an outside kitchen.

And, of course, the greatest benefit of any garden is the seclusion, a quiet place to sit after a busy day or to escape from the children (that is until they find you!).

We have a couple of areas for sitting, making the most of the morning and afternoon sunshine. Just outside the back door is a small paved area with table and chairs and I have been practicing my art work on the walls. I like the effect of old metal and painting murals is very therapeutic. This is a great space to sit and read when the weather is good.

At the end of the garden is a slightly larger patio where we can have a bbq (remember to use sustainably sourced charcoal); I have even put out a couple of small tables so we can prepare the bbq food outside as well. Over the top of this patio I have built a frame to allow an old vine to grow in the summer. This creates some lovely shade on really hot days and is a home for a lot of insects and birds.

For those of us who don’t have gardens the daily trip to the local park is very important. I would just like to close this week’s notes with a huge thank you to staff from the Council contractors Norse. They are essential workers who are out there every day emptying the bins and keeping our greenspaces in good order so that we can get out and find some space to relax and unwind during these stressful times.

As we go through this crisis the true value of our parks and greenspaces to the whole community is now very clear.

Have a lovely week and stay safe.