When we decided to pool our funds with my mum to buy a property big enough for us all to live together, we didn’t necessarily want lots of land. However, when you find a diamond in the rough you just can’t walk away.
Now that we have all this space, we have every intention on appreciating it and enjoying it. I’ve come to realize that the most important thing about your garden is what you do in it and who you do it with.
As a child, I was lucky enough to have a home with three acres of garden. It had a formal flower garden, vegetable garden with glass houses, orchard and pond (technically a small lake as it contained several good sized islands). The hours spent in the garden were some of the best of my life and it’s created a lifelong affection for horticulture and wildlife.
The best memories are of being in the garden with people I cared about. I remember sowing seeds in the warmth of the greenhouse with my dad. Him showing me how to correctly fill the pot with compost and sprinkle the tiny seeds. The smell of warmed soil still takes me back to that memory.
I remember picking a teasel from the back of the flower border and lovingly combing my mothers hair with it. Jumping over the lawn sprinkler with friends during the summer holidays. And I remember on a late summers evening taking our supper and sitting beside the pond, eating off our laps, watching dragonflies and listening to blackbirds.
Now that I’m a mother, it’s these memories, these moments, that I want to create for my children. Taking on the farm gives us the space in which to do so.
I try to see our six acres through their eyes and what will give them pleasure. We’ve created spaces for wildlife, where we can search for grasshoppers and butterflies in the tall grass and wildflowers. We’ve designated a space for games where the children can let off steam. Kick balls, ride bikes, play badminton, scream and shout. There’s a woodland for tree climbing, slack lines, campfires and dens. And there’s a vegetable garden, orchard and flower garden to learn about growing plants and how to nurture them.
I get a huge amount of pleasure from working in the garden, but for me knowing the garden is a place of sanctuary and joy for my children is the greatest feeling in the world. We’ve had the farm for a few years now and already collected many happy memories. It’s exciting to think what’s in store for us in the future.