The Habitat Garden Blog

Gardener in Exile

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We acquired our rather overgrown three acres of English country garden in summer 2016 and I was deeply immersed in discovering, designing and restoring it when the opportunity arose to move to California for a few years. How could I refuse? But my goodness, what a wrench it was to leave that garden behind! 

 I felt a little bereft without it. I realised what an enormous wellspring of daily interest, purpose and inspiration it was to me. A constant outlet for creativity and source of mental stimulation and physical exertion. A daily excuse to be present in nature. It was a gift. I was fulfilled. 

And so I decided to spend some of my time in California studying towards an RHS Diploma in Horticulture (which I can highly recommend), reading widely about gardens and visiting them whenever I had the opportunity. And setting up this blog - which is becoming something of a surrogate, virtual garden.

I also write the odd poem. Haikus seem to best capture the essence of the garden I miss and evoke its surroundings in rural Essex, more strongly than even photographs. 

The following collection can be likened to a ‘tasting menu’ of my garden, in haiku form. But first, a word of advice:

Haikus are like shots

Of pure poetry, distilled

Don’t think them; drink them!

                    ~

Church bells. Scent of rain.

As bees drone, pollen-dusty, 

In the wet garden 

                    ~

The aloof hedgerow!

Effusively, the dog rose

Tumbles throughout it

                    ~

The ancient pond rests

In dank and earthy hollow 

Yellow flags ablaze

                     ~

Bright senescent globe 

Whose seed, by grace of wind, sown 

Drifts, ever smoke-like  

                     ~ 

As moon time relents

Sunlight gently awakens 

The sleeping garden

I miss my garden but I’m regarding my time away from it as a small sacrifice akin to nipping out apple blossom buds in favour of a better crop next season. I’m slightly terrified about the height the nettles will have achieved by the time we move home, but the wildlife won’t be complaining.

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  1. Megan Benson

    I know this can be wrenching but it seems so much of gardening is in the creative impulse. All the best on this part of your journey!

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  2. Colin

    Simple pleasures............ living in the country and watching the seasons. A garden is our private safari park

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