Stalking my Cottage Garden
Posted by Catharine on April 29th 2010
The cottage garden is just that - a bit of everything from vegetables, to dahlias through ponds and roses. It is an undesigned sort of place, but practical can be beautiful. I have been on the hunt for one to visit and photograph so that the gardening chores can become a monthly subject. Accompanied by photographs, of course.
Last Friday's walk revealed the perfect subject. We peered over the hedge and gawped. Gnome, pond, greenhouse, scale model of a windmill, roses hard-pruned softened by the old fashioned little pansies called heartsease. Yesterday I went back to knock and ask permission.
On the last lap up the hill, what had seemed a brilliant plan took on a preposterous dimension. Why had I driven there in our junk yard car - bumper taped in with duct tape, L plates flapping in the wind? Maybe you are what you drive and I now felt shifty, untrustworthy and likely to break down.
But I had knocked and just long enough a pause to exult in my getaway when, very quietly a gracious and small grey-haired lady appeared round the corner, wrapped in a maroon dressing-gown. The intrusion was taken in the friendliest spirit. Her husband, Derek was the garden maker but a stroke this time last year has forced her to become the hands-on gardener. "I could never understand why he used to spend so much time in the garden" Daphne told me as she showed me round 2 small greenhouses with overwintering plants and marigolds and bedding dahlias putting on a spurt.
She fetched a folder full of photos of the garden from previous years. Part of a teaching aid to help Derek recover from his stroke. We chatted as we looked round: as a married couple they moved into the house one year after they married. They were waiting for the cottage to become available as Derek's job was a farmworker on the adjoining land. That was 53 years ago.
More of this when I go back to get my photographs - I am waiting for a sunny early morning.