After we moved to Oxford seven years in the past, our home had a much bigger backyard, albeit a uncared for one, with nettles and its personal bomb shelter. We constructed a workspace on the finish of it and – in an try to make my commute prettier – I began gardening, tentatively at first. However I used to be astonished to find how a lot I liked it: I used to be absorbed, and afterwards felt much less distracted, my thoughts quiet.
In these early days, Ben regarded on, bemused, as I threw myself into planting unsuitable species within the fallacious locations, digging beds within the garden that regarded like graves. After which we had constructing work, which trashed my efforts. It was solely once we had been surveying the wasteland of rubble that we each soberly agreed it was time to do the backyard ‘correctly’.
We turned to a superb panorama designer who divided the lengthy, slender plot into sections, utilizing stone, garden and gravel. The backyard was remodeled, and so was Ben, who liked its clear, fashionable strains. Solely the massive beds had been left naked, so we may do the planting, and make the backyard our personal. 4 years on, we’ve finished this – the backyard has discovered its personal rhythm, and so have we.
Lately, Ben is grasp of hedging, bushes and garden. He kneels down and cuts the grass with carpet scissors (surprisingly horny). I do the perennials, shrubs and planning. We’d by no means stray into the opposite’s territory. It’s the stress between the totally different components – the geometrical construction and froth of flowers – that makes our backyard, and our marriage, work.
By our kitchen window, glass of wine in hand, we regularly watch the backyard now – and its birds – as an alternative of the telly. We cease speeding about. The kids, fearing an embarrassing show of parental affection, vanish. The backyard has grow to be sweetly symbolic of how far Ben and I’ve travelled collectively. And as this scary corona world closes in round us, we have no idea what’s going to occur subsequent. Solely that we’ll face it hand in hand, saying to one another, ‘Nicely, a minimum of we’ve acquired our garden.’
The Glass House, by Eve Chase, is out now (Michael Joseph, £14.99)