Tuesday, 24 May 2011

What more could I want?

What more could I want?

I had a garden once that I appreciated so much more than any of the others I’d shared or used by default. It was small, about 20 x 20, with a wooden shed at the end, a typical picket fence at the back and right side, and gloriously fertile wild berry bushes along the left.

No grass or soil, though, just pebbles; the landlady’s idea of designer rubble, but I loved it because it allowed me the freedom to place my pots wherever I wanted without the bother of digging borders, or even buying a spade or fork. I got by on a trowel and dirty nails.

I loved my pots – all shapes and sizes – long and short – deep and shallow – square and round. I even used a triangular shrub pot as an outdoor goldfish pond. I filled the bottom with pebbles (thank you, dear landlady) and a few stones from Strandhill for the fish to hide under. There for me to watch from the comfort of my bedroom window sill, taking in the morning sun – ignored completely by the blackbirds and finches washing themselves in the fish-flavoured water.

So many birds visited my little Eden. Some came for the nuts, while others fancied bread crumbs or dried grubs. I fancied them all, especially the robin and her chicks who thrilled me with their welcome familiarity.

In spring, the pond was surrounded by the post-winter glory of iris and bluebell, slowly giving way to all kinds of heart-lifting daffodil, with space, as there should be, for the long awaited decadent tulip.

My sunflowers thrived, as did the sublime sweet-pea – I swear my girlfriend only visited so she could cut a bunch each evening. Lucky me. There was always room on my sill for her. Still is.

Rain, hail, or shine, I would step out through my bedroom window and stand amongst my friends, breathing in their unconditional love, their strength of giving. It broke my heart when I had to move. As much as I love nature, a wintery water-feature across my bedroom wall proved more than even I could take. I prefer leeks, not leaks.

I packed up my bits and pieces, my books, my journals, my sleeping trees, tiny in their tubs. My fish got bagged, all pots and bulbs transported; the bedroom window shut on what had been.

I’ll always have a garden, even if it’s on my coffee table, on the floor beside my tv, or watching me as I eat my breakfast, but I will miss the one I had outside my bedroom window, where I could enjoy my solitude and be, without effort.

Now the fish reside outside my front door, keeping an eye on the postman, and the teens who smoke hash now and again under my stairs. Each of my steps hold two pots, a bit on the Spanish side, and the sweet-pea flourish along the steel rail, more difficult to harvest, but my girlfriend still cuts a fragrant clump each evening. My sleeping trees are wide awake now, their hazel fronds caress my legs as I stand on my little stoop and watch the evening sun go down on Sligo town, my urban garden. What more could I want?


  1. I'm planning my garden (but ever so slowly). I would like to get rid of the little grass we have because the dog just makes a mess of it and I have a nice border down one side with mature blackberry (or something similar) bushes in it as well as other pretty things and I'm working on big pots with things in. Pots are good for me as they're not as low down and easier to bend down to.

  2. You must post photos in your blog when you've completed it. Or post photo-updates as it develops.