Our garden is still young in our eyes. There are still areas to be worked on, weeds to be eradicated and things that have not worked. When we started this journey over six years ago we decided what areas would do what for our new growing family: there would be a swing set, a lawn (we know, we know but we both had jobs then and aspirations to a lifestyle that never is fulfilled) for lazying on; hot days, baskets of food, beer and friends (the kind of stuff that used as fillers between recipes on certain television shows but never captures the monumental stress that is behind it all), there was a quick discussion on a hot tub, yes a bloody hot tub on an exposed hillside on the moors (we were decadent fools), a flower garden for filling the house with colour and at the top of the garden where the soil was deepest and where it could not be seen, an allotment. Then the recession happened, then austerity, then unemployment, then diminishing hours and the sounds of clamouring wolves beyond our windows. Listen to the children of the night, howl. Out went the swing set, the lawn and the hot tub dreams. The place we earmarked for the allotment became something more long lived, with long term goals, a wildlife orchard, a way to bring in the bees, butterflies, beneficial bugs and frogs. Now, six years later we have gone from a blank canvas to something more productive and without the need for swimwear and networking.
Even though we are largely still broke, still counting every penny and pound, we have become more and more reliant on the garden to fill our freezer and store cupboard, from rhubarb to lettuces, we have seen how a smallish plot can make the difference to our lives. Even that poor soil at the bottom of the garden has been improved, built up and that flower garden did show up, a way to top and tail beneficial insects around the garden bringing in wildlife and taking it from an open, exposed hillside to something that is cossetted and working for us.
No garden ever stands still and if our garden is like this after six years what will it be in another six years when the orchard enters its second decade and the soil is friable?