My latest column is here:
Much of the inner turmoil is displayed inside the house. That is where you really let loose. Privately. Sometimes manifesting as complete chaos and other times as an urgent desire for order. Mine was the latter. But the garden, beyond your immediate attention and yet on display to the street can betray your confidences. One day I noticed, or rather it was pointed out to me, that mine was making something of a statement. Herbs gone to seed, thirsty stalks in pots, unfinished projects and overgrown grass; it seemed to be telling the street that I did not have my life together.
At the time, I wasn’t much interested in gardens, and because I really did not have my life together what I really wanted was a new room, one that wouldn’t remind me of anything. Instead, I had a holiday and rather than going away I simply walked outside. And there in my garden I found a room, and then another, and another after that. They were quite tranquil rooms or at least, had the potential to be. Different parts of the garden offered different moods – they received varying amounts of sunshine, had a range of outlooks, provided assorted degrees of privacy or community, leant themselves to meals outside or children playing or solitude. With a little bit of work I realised they could become new living space.