Hello again, from the team at Welch Fencing. We can hardly believe it ourselves, the long winter months seem far away in the distance, homes are letting the scent of the outdoors in, with windows and back doors open, and our outdoor living space becoming much more used.
Growing up in an inner city, I was lucky enough to have a small, moderately kept, garden. It was your typical lawn with four neat borders, some well-placed trees and a nice eating area with a small French style table and chairs. It was a pleasurable place to sit, when friends would come round on a weekend evening for a small glass of whatever was in the fridge, and we could have the radio on and listen to background music, while putting work, children and life back to rights over idle conversation.
Moving to a beautiful rural location, has been a whirl wind of sensory feeling for me. Its 9.05pm and am standing at the back door, waiting for my cat to just about decide if he is ready to come and grace us with his presence for the evening. There is no wind in the air, and the atmosphere is so still, it really does dawn on me how quiet and peaceful it is here. The garden for me here is tranquilly, it was difficult to relocate and adapt to the quietness of surroundings at first and would wake up because it was so quiet.
Initially I was frightened to go out to the garden at dusk, as bats would swoop from the eves to the trees, or mice could be seen scurrying their way in and out of the borders and hedges. Honestly there was nothing better than sitting in the evening heat, BBQ smells wafting through the air, a glass of something fizzy, and once I was quite content that the bees and wasps were in fact there for food, and not to sting me, I would happily sit and whittle the hours away with my lovely partner. Who found the whole thing most amusing, that I acted like the city slicker on arriving? I have been fortunate enough to have pheasants on the lawn, deer’s in nearby hedges and a mole politely dig it way across the newly manicured lawn. An over time, I began to see the outdoor space in this beautiful house, made me feel a whole lot happier.
Gone are the days of watching the next doors kids bouncing endlessly on their trampoline, or the neighbourhood cats declaring WW3 on each other of an evening. See for me, initially not knowing anybody in the community, made the garden a welcome friend. My ignorance in the vast number of different birds, that came and went was shameful, I would whoop and holler when, what I consisered, the more exotic ones came (cities and pigeons was about my limit), more so for the woodpecker and house martins. But my firm favourite was the hardy Robin, see for me the robin was my symbol of hope.
He was the stoic, stiffer up lip bird, that came and went despite the weather. The wind, the rain, the snow. He showed up, ate, then left only to do the same the next day. See without me realising it, that little bird, was encouragement for me to enjoy the outdoor space of the garden. I learned a little more each day, about the different birds, and plants and the habitat that came and made its home here. My homes sickness stopped, and I stopped pining for the bright lights of a city (well not totally), but I did feel better about my life here in the country. See gardens are therapy in lots of different ways, and for lots of people.
Its unimportant the amount of outdoor space you have, it’s how that area can lift your life. Is it an area for sitting out and enjoying a glass of wine and a light evening meal? Or a playground for the family and grandchildren? A beautiful landscaped area of time, and devotion loving created with the same care as a priceless piece of art? Is it an area, for growing vegetables and fruit? Or a workspace?
Our gardens are as much a part of our home, as the fixtures and fitting inside it.
They are special because they give us extra leisure days, in the long working week. There is nothing better than being able to have family, friends, neighbours, eating and drinking in the summer sunshine. Just like the bird table, humans become more sociable in the garden space. We seem to relax more with the sun in our face, and the scent of honeysuckle, roses and lavender filing our noses. The garden is like fabulous social spot, for five-minute catch ups that literally can take all day. We are more inclined to forget the day to day chores of running the inside of a house, when the garden spaces look so beautiful, and welcoming in the balminess of the summer months.
One of my earliest memories of having to tend and care for a garden, was round about the age of 17. I think I had become too cool to do the local caravanning holiday with my parents and younger sister and had made the plea bargain of being mature enough to be left, unsupervised for a few days at home. I don’t think my mother ever worried about me, as I was a good, studious child and relatively clean, in comparison to the way I see my teenagers’ room is left these days.
I was left on the understanding that there were no house parties, and I was to water dads prized garden and plants and keep an eye on his beloved pond. It was a scorching hot summer and the water levels in the pond would often need topping up just a few inches. See dad loved his pond as much as he loved his plants, my mother had allowed him the grace of a water feature, on account he improvised and made some type of mesh to stop kids, and cats falling into it, unsupervised. So, dad had made this wire grill that sat over the top of the pond, and various beautiful plants grew from underneath it, not only creating a gorgeous water feature, but giving dads, much prized koi carp a much welcome hiding space.
Being 17 and planning my social time, meant that I was only able to water the plants of an evening, for some reason each day they were getting more floppier, sadder looking and losing their petals. In my ignorance I had thought it was to do with the summer heat, but by basically giving them water of a night, I was lining dads plants up like streaky bacon in the morning sunshine. That’s not the worse of the crimes I committed that summer.
So, the pond had lost a good few inches of water from it, and dad said I should remove the grill to the side, pop the hose in and top it up by a few feet. I went and got my favourite book, sun cream and bikini on, moved the grill, put the hose in and began to top up as requested. It must have been a good hour, and the summer heat had knocked me out.
It was not thirst or over heating that woke me, but the noise of gulping. My eyes were met by the most gigantic bird, I had ever seen in my life, feverishly feasting its way through dad’s koi carp, at rate, that Lewis Hamilton drives round a F1 track.
It was my screams that stopped the birds in its track, I ran over to the pond to see that the he had kindly left me one, lonely fish trying its best to hide amongst the lilies and water grass. Now any good child, knows that the best remedy to find resolution, in a difficult situation is to be truthful.
On the other hand, I was 17 and knew the consequences would mean no more free time in the house unsupervised. So, I paid a visit to my local pet store, and fisheries and promptly bought ten good sized goldfish, and literally put them in the pond, hoping that I would not get caught out. Needless to say, within a few hours of my parents arriving home, dads garden looked like it had been on a boil wash, the beautiful colours of the plants and flowers literally scorched from every petal and leaf, plus in my readiness to hide the fish saga, I had actually forgotten that dads Koi were black and not Gold.
Dad still has the pond. Minus the goldfish.
He now, spends his time in the garden, to potter ( as he calls it), and play with the grandkids in the longer summer days and to take long, relaxing naps on the sun lounge in his favourite spot, with a cap on his face and a cat sharing the lower half of the bed.
See our gardens evolve, like the seasons, the gardens need change, with our lives. I literally love that thought, that our gardens grow up with us. Spaces as private and secluded as we want them to be, an extension of our homes but also escapism from life, work and our minds. The garden is a welcome friend, never judges, never complains, gets old and tired looking as we do in life, but with a bit of TLC can flourish, regrow, and go back to its hay days.
They hold our memories and dreams in countless ways, in trees that may have been planted with grandchildren, flower beds by husbands and wives who are no longer here, times with our friends who have moved on to pastures new. Family who have grown up and bring children of their own.
The garden is a magical place, a beautiful book with thousands of pages, and chapters. Beautifully illustrated, through the flowers and wildlife that share our space, in perfect union and harmony with us.
Wising you all a wonderful Summer, warmest wishes from all the team at Welch Fencing.
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