It's the last day of May and I wanted to make a record of our garden because it's bringing me so much happiness.
I'm a lazy gardener - my greatest pleasure is admiring someone else's gorgeous borders instead of sweating over my own. I grow vegetables because they're much easier than herbaceous borders and you can eat them, but the rest of the garden is down to my husband (pruning, path-laying, pond-digging, rock wall-building). Also, I've a strong feeling that much modern gardening is about control and fear of the wild, beyond us and inside. Just looking at all the brightly coloured strimmers and choppers and plastic grass makes me very sad inside.
Until last year we had a lawn. It was a hassle and boring to look at. We wondered what would grow if we didn't cut the grass, so we left it to do its own thing - our own No Mow May but for a whole year. We mowed paths through it partly so that the garden still worked for us and partly so that the untidiness looked intentional, and then because we found that the mown paths grew different wild flowers as long as we didn't mow them often.
The result was a complete joy.
This year it's even better. We have more flowers, far more insects, and more birds too. The newts have been joined by frogs, and a huge toad jumped over the path in front of me yesterday.
House martins are exploring our eaves this year for the first time, and a bat nightly circles the garden. Swifts have gathered overhead, and though they're fewer than we used to see, last year there were almost none so we were overjoyed to see them return. Goldfinches are everywhere, alongside the usual bluetits, blackbirds, magpies, collared doves, jackdaws, dunnocks, wrens and robins. And the bees are in their element. In the quiet of lockdown, we can hear them buzzing, the chicks in their nests, the swishing of the grass in the breeze.
On 18 April I surveyed the wild flowers in the garden, and found 26 species. It's not a fancy garden and it's not huge - maybe a third of an acre, with a chunk of it used for growing vegetables (and drying washing) and another chunk paved - but it was packed with variety. Today, some of those flowers have died back and others have taken their places. I'll survey them this week, but today I'll sit at the grassy table at the top of the garden and enjoy them.