My garden is gone.
I planted the first seeds for my garden in 2001. I finally owned my own home and I wanted to tread lightly on the planet. At the time, that meant recycling, paying a fortune for energy-saving lightbulbs and reducing your Food Miles.
The house had a garden. Well, it had an outdoor space that was home to a neglected lawn and – as it turned out – quite a lot of buried rubbish. Including most of a car engine, if I remember correctly. It had possibilities, but it needed work. In the meantime, I perused the shelves at the local hardware store for seeds I could sow in pots on the patio. Mostly herbs, and a leafy green I wasn’t familiar with – leaf beet (perpetual spinach) – that sounded as though it would be great in stir-fries.
The rest, as they say, is history. I got bitten by the gardening bug, and Emma the Gardener was born. I went from a few pots on the patio to a permaculture paradise, with raised beds growing weird and wonderful edible plants, a geodesic dome greenhouse and a small flock of chickens. Every spring, I tried to whittle down the list of things I wanted to grow so that it would fit into the available planting space. And every spring, I failed. It was a garden of passion and exuberance rather than practicality; a labour of love. It was never conventional, and it never matched up to anyone else’s ideas of what a garden should be. But I loved it. It was a part of my soul.
But then the wheel of life turned, as it does, and I was forced to leave it behind. I tried to pack as much up as I could, and carried far too many plants into an interregnum that would last three years. The plants were as homeless as I was, adrift aboard a ship sailing towards an unknown future. When we finally saw land again,Read more on theunconventionalgardener.com