It’s been a while! How are YOU?!? and us? Well the garden is still here and as I look out the open door the rain pours down of the self seeded sunflowers that survived the storm are bobbing around, the damsons are ripe, the kale is gorgeous and everything is very green and a little bit wild. We were closed all through lockdown and I was furloughed but the rules allowed me to do essential maintenance (like emptying the compost loo!). One volunteer came in at a time on a rota and got things planted and watered and kept everything ticking over. Folks often came in stressed and left feeling better and with some peas,carrots and a bunch of flowers. We all felt very lucky to have the garden as a small but important life raft in turbulent world.
Now we have opened up a little more. I became partially unfurloughed at the end of July and though the gates are still closed our existing volunteers can come in small groups, again on a rota and just for a morning or afternoon. So in August for the first time since March we could sit round the table in the shelter and be together. This month we have been enjoying melon moments with our fantastic high summer harvest. It may have been a terrible year for lots of things but it has been a great year for our veg with some especially lush harvests of carrots, onions, grapes, chilli, melons, toms, cukes and more and our flowers have been fantastic. We’re not yet able to welcome everyone in again on a drop in basis on a Wednesday or run events but we are able to take small, sensible and safe steps in that direction.
This summer we were also able to run our holiday club for 5-12 year olds again. We put a lot of thought into how we could follow the government guidelines whilst still offering a space to be wild and spontaneous. Luckily the garden is big enough for the groups to spread out, and with some jiggling round how we do things and lots of hand washing they went really well. It was brilliant to have the garden full of noise and nonsense again, we’ve had waterfights and whittling and all sorts of silliness going on.
And now suddenly it’s September next week and we’ll be running our after school clubs and they’ve booked up nicely for the new term. We’re only able to run one toddler group for the moment on Tuesday at 10 and that’s all booked up as well.
What does the future hold? Who knows but we plan to still be here for the foreseeable, and as soon as it’s manageable in a safe way we’ll open up our Wednesdays to new people again. I very much doubt we’ll have a bonfire night in November but I think we’ll manage a much-more-spaced-out-than usual wreath making day/s in December
And I’ll leave you with the personal tale of a surprisingly joyous lock down afternoon I spent emptying the compost loo . It was the original chamber so while everything in there was at least four years old some of the ‘solids’ were from way back in 2012 – when we were young and the garden was a baby. I’d always imagined we’d have some sort of party the day we emptied it but instead it was just me, a mask and a specially shaped spade. It smelt fine and was a lovely rich colour and none of it recognisable as poo as it had rooted down with the added saw dust. As I dug out the layers. It made me think about all the people who’c all played a part in making with beautiful place. Is there better example of a how a collective effort combines produces beautiful results? Or how with some effort some problems can become the solutions and how we all need to deal with our own shit. Anyhow it’s gone on to our flowerbeds and our sweet peas are all the sweeter for it. Many thanks you to everyone who has contributed to the garden in any way over the years!
See you in the garden (sometime!)