When we bought our house twenty years ago our garden was wild and overgrown. It was a hot June that year and the escallonia front hedge - fifteen foot high and eighteen foot deep - was budding with tiny pink blossoms, with vivid cerise dog roses trailing over it. The front garden was a charming haven with unmown lawns knee high. You could imagine finding an old bench in there and settling down in a sunhat with a cool drink, and reading a favourite book. Bees went in and out of the hives in the garden. The back garden was thick with nettles, brambles, dandelions and convolvulus.
After we moved in we got rid of the bee hives because the bees were annoying, very annoying. Dave helped with the heavy work of clearing, and landscaping, and I spent long days gardening. In those days I could garden for six hours before I was tired. (Now I can manage two.) Here's a photo of the back garden from that time - the results of the hard work.
A few years ago we chopped down the front hedge because the escallonia was sad, damaged by a bitter winter, and we revelled in the view of the fields beyond.
It's a lovely garden now but it lacks the charm it once had. I think it lacks the charm.
When I go for a teatime bike ride on the Trail there's a spot where I often stop and sit, overlooking a deep valley. I sit amongst the wild flowers and grasses, and revel in the silence. The only sounds come from sheep and birds. I sit and mull over problems, or plots and plans, and think it would be great to sit there all day in the wildness and to sleep there at night. I feel more at peace there than I do in my garden. Why is that? It's not just because when I'm sitting in the garden I can see weeds that need pulling up, or a shrub that needs pruning, or a lawn that needs mowing. It's something more, and other than that.
And if sitting in the wild country makes me feel so peaceful, why did we ever tame our garden?