August 05, 2013


MY FIRST GARDEN   by Christine Boardman

Apart from a five or six summers and Christmases in Nigeria,* where my parents lived and worked, I spent most of my childhood living in central London. Lots of wonderful parks...but nowhere at all for l little girl to get her hands muddy!  Grassy areas, then, had  PLEASE KEEP OFF THE GRASS ** signs here and there, and no Londoner would even dream of touching the flower beds! The latter were all very neat and formal. This has all changed recently, wildflowers are allowed to trespass, and they are much gentler and prettier now.

As a town child however, I was fortunate enough to have wonderful grandparents living in a lovely rural area in the south of England, with a large area of open moorland behind the house, and I went there often.

I was probably five or six years old when I decided to look for somewhere to plant my own garden. Out on the moor, still quite close to the house, I found a pretty spot, with large granite boulders on one side, and an area of soft bright green moss. I didn't have any seeds then, but I dug up favorites, like Forget-Me-Nots and Daisies, and planted them in the soft soil.

Then I went indoors and proudly told my Grandparents about my new garden.

"Where did you say your garden is?"   When I told them, they looked at each other in horror!
(Don't forget I was a Londoner! Disgusting things went down pipes and were never thought of  again!)

After I'd been given a  long deep bath, my grandmother explained about country septic systems.
The next morning, Granddad took me out around his flower beds so that I could pick out a place for a new garden. We bought and planted seeds and I was allowed to transplant a few favourites.

It was very pretty...but it never had the love I have given to my REAL first garden!

*   where we had a Wonderful garden!
** This has all changed since the wonderful Dutch garden designer, Piet Oudorlf became generally known. Most London Parks are much less formal and prettier now.

'Planting Design - Gardens in Time and Space' by Piet Ouldolf and Noel Kingsbury

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