During lockdown, I have found peace in the gardens at Mill Cottage and this is something that has rather taken me by surprise. I have dipped into gardening before and occasionally been tempted to actually buy a plant or some seeds at the garden centre instead of just indulging in coffee and cake but this is different. To spend time weeding, potting and pruning is now what I look forward to most during my remote teaching day. I am constantly checking my little pots for signs of growth and feel like a proud mum when the bees and butterflies land on my flowers.

I suppose I come from a gardening family. My parents have a beautiful garden and growing up, both sets of my grandparents had amazing gardens. They were fun to play in and yielded the nicest tasting tomatoes and apples that made perfect pies. So many of my most precious memories are based in their gardens and I wonder if this is why it brings me peace.

Today, I wish I could transplant my Nanny from her lockdown up North to help me identify all the plants that reside here and I am sure she would also be able to name the many birds that grace is with their happy songs. Every time I find myself rummaging around for weeds, I am reminded of the sight of my Grandad Kasmir in the same pose, combing through his lawn for weeds. I always used to wonder why he did that and how he could keep going – but now I think I am beginning to understand.

When I was little, one of my favourite hymns at church was about a seed hidden in the earth that waits to grow until the start of spring when the surface beckons. I often hum this to myself as I dig as it reminds me that just as my plants grow, there is room for me to grow and continue developing into the person I want to be. I think this is often what pulls me out of the house and into the garden.

My favourite feature in this garden that we are stewarding in Bradfield are the trees that are growing back from stumps. They are not daunted by the size of the task ahead and are taking it a day at a time, at peace with the rhythm of life. I call them my trees of inspiration.

Sometimes the days don’t go so well. Sometimes the weeks don’t go so well. There are sunny days and rainy days, days where growth is easy, days where it is a struggle. Just like the seeds under the earth, the budding flowers and renewing trees, we need to keep hoping and believing. Change is possible. Whatever you are facing know that good times can and will return- to your life, to your family, to your community.

Lots of love 🌻🌻🌻🌻🌻


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