Thursday, 17 May 2012

A little patch of Paradise.

For years now I have walked along a certain road and at a certain point my stride has slowed to drink in the joys of a beautiful garden that nestles behind a clematis covered fence. Through rain and snow, sun and cloud I have marvelled at the care lavished upon it by its owner. Its not attached to a spectacular property, rather to an ordinary looking semi-detached, but its lawns are manicured, its flower beds perfect and I have admired it for a long time.

Yesterday I was wending my way home, slowing once again to gaze over the fence, when I saw an old man going in through the gate. Our eyes met as he turned to shut it and I smiled and asked if this was his garden. He grinned back and said that it was. When I complimented him on its beauty and said that I had admired it for years he asked if I would like to have a tour! Well, I quickly summed up the chances of this nice old man being a psychopathic axe murderer, rapidly dismissed them and pushed open the gate ...

I spent the most lovely half hour wandering around with him in the sunshine. What a wonderful man! He told me that everything in the garden has been nurtured by him, mostly from seed, some rescued when other people thought they were dead. He has at least six greenhouses dotted around the garden, each filled with seedlings and young plants waiting to go out. And never has he bought a greenhouse! Each was taken in payment for work done, or rescued from gardens where they were unwanted.

His lawn was dotted with Japanese maples and acers. Dahlia tubers waited patiently to be put out into carefully prepared beds. And around a corner he showed me a little patch of paradise - his vegetable beds! Call me old fashioned, but it was like being in Mr McGregor's garden. Potatoes poked their heads up from beds of straw. Carrots pushed their way through rich dark soil in specially built brick raised beds. He told me he shows his carrots and leeks and grinned as I ran the soil through my fingers - like black gold!

Cabbages and cauliflowers grew protected by mesh cages and stakes awaited his prize dahlias to grow inbetween the vegetables.

In a corner by his crystal clear fish pond he had a table weighed down with bedding plants grown from seed. Wind chimes clinked in the breeze.

You can imagine the joy of that half hour for me. I have never seen such healthy looking plants. There was not a yellow leaf, a wilting stem in sight. Each one was plump and green and ready to spring into greenery and blossom. I stood as he told me the stories of his trees as his wife sat in the sunshine on a straw bale, nursing a cup of tea and a biscuit. I felt so privileged to be given a glimpse into his little corner of Heaven and his enthusiasm and quiet happiness bathed me in contentment.

After half an hour I left with thanks and goodbyes and the invitation to bring my husband to visit too. All that joy because our eyes met over a garden gate and we took a chance of talking to a stranger. Its one of those experiences which will stay as a golden memory forever!



potato beds

7 comments:

Sharon Longworth said...

What a smashing way to spend a half hour and how great that you were both brave enough to overcome any shyness or discomfort and just share the pleasure.

Inkling said...

That is the best story! What a sweet, serendipitous gift for you on that day. I love it!

Kat said...

Wow, what a lovely meeting and gorgeous garden! I love acers and japanese maples (as you can tell from my blog). I can almost feel the warm sunshine and peaceful enjoyment xx

Debra said...

Oh what a lovely post! What a lovely old man too to let you look around. It's moments like this that renew my faith in humankind. I hope you go back and visit him and his garden soon xx

Pauline Woodcock said...

I know you will remember this visit for a long, long time. Over 30 years ago I had a similar experience when I chatted to a little (89 year) old lady over her front fence and accepted her invitation to have a look around. We were friends for 4 years until she died and to this day I remember Mrs Kelly with a smile in my heart.

Jan said...

Sounds like a lovely interlude in a busy day! A real old fashioned treat.

Nicki said...

This is so awesome!!! I love gardens! In fact, I just posted about how much I miss gardening the way I used to and item number 7 on my bucket list is to revive my 7 gardens!! AND I LOVE the elders! How wonderful that you were able to spend some time with him!!! I bet he appreciated it more than he can say.