Thirty odd years ago my father planted an avenue of pin oaks. Those next to the road I gardened under. The further row I worked around. It seemed rather meaningless to me to plant a double avenue next to a road as opposed to either side of it. But the oaks grew tall and straight and stately and then recently I walked there with a friend who said: why not remove from between them these dead and meaningless trees, compost heaps and (yes!) an ancient tennis court roller and open up this cathedral-like space?
Immediately I pictured a glass roof on tall thin insubstantial art nouveau metal columns, a perfect wedding chapel under the oaks. And then imagined the logistics of cars and toilets messing it all up… But recently the dream was transformed. Not a wedding chapel, but a more private shrine. A place of meditation and retreat. Right next to my beloved totally natural grove of ouhout trees and wild grasses, which form a chancel at the end. (I’ve just looked up that word, dredged from the bottom of my memory; it is the right one and comes from the Latin meaning ‘lattice work’… )
I have been there often of late, accompanied by my two remaining dogs, now much closer than they ever where in the days when there were other dogs. Abigail, although going on 6 1/2, remains slim and svelte and busy. Her father Montgomery is now nearly 12 and his dark face is greying and his body blockish, but his tail remains scorpion-tall; Keith Richards, and the alpha male (dog or human) of the Cheerio Valley.
Today’s late afternoon light gave a strangely flattened effect, but my Samsung phone takes amazing low-light photographs and I loved the unfamiliar takes on familiar subjects.
The public entrance to the garden on the Rosemary Terrace was every bit as green and romantic as I ever hoped it to be… Welcome to my garden!