My column for the first Sunday in any month usually focuses on the jobs to do, the seeds to sow, depending on where we are in the growing season. But these are unusual times. So April’s column will be published next week.
I thought, instead, to explore the comfort and healing I find in gardening, whether it is digging a trench for potatoes on the plot or tending a rose in a pot on the terrace.
From the first time I grew flower seed I knew it would become part of my life. My first job in London was in a plant nursery (I used to stock neighbours’ gardens from discarded plants my new bosses threw in the skip.) My next stop was an eco-commune in Anglesey growing organic vegetables by the Irish sea. But then, I guess, parenting and journalism intervened.
Our first planting of the roof terrace here in north London was a cascade of clematis and clambering rose, though it has since calmed down. But it was at Plot 29 after my brother died that I found my solace in soil. In simply tending seedlings, like I had wanted to care for my sisters and Christopher.
Here I found nurture in nature. Peace of mind in growing childhood flowers, radishes and peas. Over these anxious weeks I’ve been drawn to the plot. To salads sown to the rat-a-tat-tapping of the woodpecker, the call of the invisible owl, a robin bobbing for worms where I’ve just broken ground.
There are calendula growing from seed I save and sow every year. There are trays of French beans and painted mountain corn beginning to stir on the terrace, waiting for their place in the sun. All a promise for the future.
Whether it’s tending a potted plant, a window box, a flower patch or an allotment, I have found a comfort in caring.
Allan Jenkins’s Plot 29 (4th Estate, £9.99) is out now. Order it for £8.49 from guardianbookshop.com
The post In worrying times, there is nurture to be found in nature appeared first on The Guardian.