A phone message the other day left me feeling a little nostalgic. The new owners of The Walnuts our old house called to ask if I wanted to look at our old garden 6 years on. Would my curiosity overcome me, I wonder?
We bought the house from a lovely lady in her 80's called Vera Fry. Vera grew Chrysanthemums by the back door and a vast patch of leeks. She boiled pears from the orchard on a coal-fired Rayburn. I remember the house smelled of apples because she stored them in a room behind the kitchen. Her husband Mick kept pigs and betted on horses, he kept his winnings in the cellar which was so damp his money rotted. He died a few years previously and after two hip operations Vera had to say goodbye to the garden.
We had left a tiny courtyard garden in London. I have no idea where I found the bravery to take on that garden, some 1.5 acres, but I did and I loved it. It had magic, loved gardens have magic, don't they? Which leads me to another question.
Do gardeners make a garden magical or is the magic just there?
A couple of years ago I photographed a garden which was magical, well lots of the gardens I get to photograph are, but this one sticks in my mind. The owner, Rosemary was moving in a couple of weeks. The garden was full of colour, it was tiny. Paths weaved through bobbing flower heads, apples glowed in the mini orchard, water trickled over your bear toes and sunlight splashed and dripped through weaving stems and silky petals.
Later that summer, not much later maybe only a month, I popped back as the village had some open gardens. I walked through Rosemary's old garden but the magic had gone. Gone completely, vanished. It made me feel quite empty. Quite sad. Since then I have experienced the same thing when visiting a garden after the owner has moved on. So now I have my answer, gardeners really do bring a touch of magic and I like a bit of magic, don't you?
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