To me a garden has always had the ability to transport me to another world. I have memories of my childhood playing in the far reaches of our garden and imagining myself miles from home. Climbing under a hedge to get into the next field was always more exciting than using the gate. Scaling the huge Ash tree at the end of the garden to sit on a rough plank nailed there by my older brother was my very own Mount Everest. At one end of the garden was a wild area full of rhododendron, keria and periwinkle.The name periwinkle for me used to conjure up all sorts of magic and In there I could and did imagine I was in a jungle battling my way to safety. Our swing was at the edge of the big field at the back of the house and in summer precariously close to a large clump of stinging nettles. As I soared higher and higher on my swing I would imagine all sorts of horrific fates if I should happen to let go and land in the nettles. I never did though it was fun scaring myself with my daydreaming. We built babyhouses as we called them, with the dried out stems of the previous years native hogweed. We would weave them into a makeshift wall and throw a jumper over the top and although you couldn’t even sit up it was a lot of fun. These memories are in the far recesses of my brain and are rarely brought to the surface. Recently however some very good friends of our family visited our garden and brought their 3 year old Grandaughter Jasmine. We’ve had many friends and family visit over the years but to see her reaction just brought me back to both my childhood and my sons younger years. She sprinted around the garden looking into every nook and cranny, she ran up the path in the woodland and disappeared along the path that nowadays only Lily the dog explores.
She peered into bushes and skipped across the lawns, she exclaimed at plants and flowers and gathered treasure in her tiny perfect hands. When my son met her she piped up with the utmost confidence, I love this garden. Sean who had just being trying to dissuade a 4 year old boy from pulling the heads off all my muscari and not to throw stones was utterly enchanted.”Why is that?” he asked of his tiny friend.” Cos its full of pixies and fairies” she said as if this was completly natural. With that she skipped off with her Nan in hot pursuit who had barely time to say “she just loves it here she thinks its a fairy garden.” What a thrill I got from Jasmine’s face. When she stopped for a minutes rest I asked what she had in her hand, “Treasure” was her breathy response.” Can I see” I enquired. Her tiny little fist opened to reveal its treasure, a few pieces of the purple chip gravel that we use everywhere around the garden, acres of it, but to Jasmine a tot whose imagination has no boundaries it was treasure. I winked at Carol and said if you really want to show her treasure I have some coloured marbles in a dish at the back of the barn.
Off she went chattering away and came back with more treasure, this time in the form of bright blue, red and green glass marbles the flat kind you put in the end of a vase of flowers to hold the stems upright. To her however it was treasure and she brought it home, put some of it carefully in a box and buried it in the garden. For me she left a treasure too, a memory sparked of my own days of youthful flights of fancy, memories of my son playing in the dark forest at the back of the garden and a new look at my garden as a world of endless possibitites if you only have the imagination.