The Garden

Becoming a gardener was an accident.

I have heard it said that there are no ‘It started here’ moments in life.  I could grow nothing as a child and believed I could grow nothing. The few plants that came my way faded, and died. Always I mourned them and the belief became the truth. I stopped trying, forever devoted to my pencils, and thought no more about it.

I left home, life happened, I got lost. Home became a cold damp factory, where I lived with the pigeons, until even they disappeared.  However I shared a small studio there with my friend, and his battered Monstera deliciosa, the humble cheese plant. I ignored it.

My friend was often unable to visit, lost in his own life. The cheese plant became more battered, leaves gradually died and fell. I barely noticed.

We faded together.

I do not remember the change. At some point, without even noticing it, I began to pour old drinks onto the shrunken root bowl.  Cold tea, coffee dregs, ( so many coffee dregs), the occasional forgotten beer. The cheese plant could hardly be said to living, but it stopped dying too. We survived the longest coldest winter I had known and spring came. Irregular watering crept into our lives and one day a new leaf burst from a withered stem, bright green, smooth, full of promise.

My friend bought a house, and I rented a room off him. Our cheese plant went with us. I stopped giving it old tea and abandoned coffees and started watering it regularly. Other houseplants began to fill my room and I discovered that you could also feed them.  Some I lost and again mourned but slowly the survivors began to thrive. They spilled from my room and collected on windowsills around the house, small eddies forming on tables and shelves. The cheese plant had to be moved to the living room as it grew, so I re-potted it with fresh compost and installed a florescent light on a timer. It  thrived and touched the ceiling in delight.

My brother went to horticultural college and trained to become a gardener. We began to talk about gardening together, and from him my plant collection doubled. I realized that with a garden there was much more I could grow and planted my first apple tree.

When my brother moved to Wales I began mowing the lawn for an old client of his. Their garden was enormous…

I fell in love and moved to Essex. Looking for work more gardening jobs came my way. My clients were happy and I realized that I was happy. I learned a lot but not enough, so I went back to college and studied horticulture. My gardening business grew along with my enjoyment of my work.

Now there is not a day without some thought or action rooted in the garden. I watch the seasons turn and have learned patience. The gardens grow and breathe, and we feed each other.

I still visit my friend and Cheesy. He too is now a gardener and they are both well. If I visit in late summer I get free apples too.


  1. oh my, what a beautiful story!! You write with such an honest simplicity…. simply gorgeous.

  2. Welcome to the gardening world, so glad to share it with you 🙂 beautiful writing style, looking forward to many more.

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