Thursday, 9 June 2011

A window into a wider world

I always enjoy visiting other peoples’ gardens.
If they are well kept, models of efficiency and design then, marvellous.
If they are quiet oasis' of delight, slightly unkempt but nevertheless loved, brilliant.
Even if they are total wrecks to our eyes, a cause of polite coughs and smiles, I will always see the beauty. I find from experience one should always proclaim in such circumstances, “A wildlife garden!” much to the delight of the owner.

If it is a big garden, it is also always of interest to me to get to know the ‘backroom team’, be they a local gardener or even the slightly jaded son. This is often the heart of the garden. They see things other people miss and often know when the garden really looks its best. A garden is a place of restful resilience as well as a place of human leisure. Animals visit unabashed by our presence. Birds will perhaps feed their young. Insects scurry in their microscopic jungle, concerning themselves with their own particular needs.

One of my fondest memories is of an early summer dawn on the North Downs, dew heavy on the grass. I was discussing my daily list of tasks from the Head Gardener when a weasel popped out of the clipped box hedge and danced across the large expanse of main lawn on its endless quest for sustenance. I was very lucky to be in just the right place at just the right time to witness this and I find myself smiling each time I think of it. A garden is indeed our window into a wider world.

-- Guy Deakins

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