I think nearly everyone in the UK has been hit hard by this virus and its effects, through the illness, through death, through loss of earnings and investments and by being locked down. There will be multitudes of other effects I haven’t heard of or imagined. Personally I am amongst the lucky- we have a large garden set in wonderful and accessible countryside. For what seems like weeks, we have had glorious spring sunshine to enjoy. We have delightful and helpful neighbours. One of the neighbours has been admitted to hospital with the virus (and is recovering, we believe) and the way everyone has rallied round and helped confirmed for all of us that we are well supported. And, of course, social media and the internet keeps us in touch with people with common interest worldwide and that’s worth an enormous amount.
I realised years ago that I never ever wanted to see another airport and I find that any prospect of travel casts a shade over the weeks before it happens by my anticipatory grief at leaving the garden, and the accompanying worries about looking after it. And there is always something happening in the garden that I don’t want to miss. So being stuck at home is really neither novel or at all terrible.
There will be consequences in our lives in relation to opening the garden. I’ve written about that here.
There are two of us here, which must make all the difference. Charles would like to be able to travel and has lost planned trips. But he is quite happy here too. I hate phone calls – one friend ringing for a chat caused me to vanish behind the sofa, so I am not setting up video links with anyone. Don’t know if other people amongst my friends are – or if, with a garden and a partner or other company, we are actually all able to be quite content. I’ll find out when we’re all able to meet again and catch up.
Many of our friends are confessing that they are actually happy in their isolation, actually enjoying it – the least happy being a person on their own. But I think all my friends have gardens even if they’re not gardeners, so they are able to be outdoors and that seems vital.
I think we all fear the future. Nearly everyone says that they are apprehensive, and so ‘living in the moment’. I think living in the moment in spring is rather a joy: I have wondered if it feels different to those in the world who are in autumn. When this disease started we had relentless pouring rain and that seemed to reflect the mood of gloom and despondency. Spring sunshine, with the garden returning to life, has been a great lift. Though as ever in our evening walk round the garden we have found plenty to worry over. Holly blight, anyone else?
It does make me wonder if a great many of us could manage happily with much more restricted lives? I suppose Instagramed holidays catch our attention, while staying at home gives most people little to boast about. So we hear less from the happy at home people.
I would love a meal out with friends, I miss that most of all. But I do wonder – who is going to help us out of lockdown?
Anne setzt sich seit fünfzehn Jahren für eine Renaissance britischer Gärten ein.
Sie ist Gartenautorin für Zeitungen und Gartenzeitschriften und mit dem Gartenfotografen Charles Hawes verheiratet. Gemeinsam haben sie Veddw House an der walisischen Grenze als einen durchdachten Garten entworfen und angelegt. Der vier Hektar große Garten wurde von Sara Maitland in “Ein Buch der Stille” als einer der “Gärten beschrieben, die die persönlichen Philosophie und Vorstellung von Schönheit reflektieren, veranschaulichen und entwickeln; Gärten, die wirklich eine Kunstform sind”, und von Tim Richardson in “The Telegraph“ als „einer der ursprünglichsten Gärten Großbritanniens “ bezeichnet.