Another stimulating and nourishing day last week for a small group of us at Moorbank, writing and painting…Knowing that a meeting to decide the garden’s fate was going on at the same time was hard to ignore and crept into my own early draft. I was also influenced by recent newspaper reports of further species extinctions. Already a very special place, the thought that it might not continue in its present form after November made the garden feel even more precious.
After the Petition
The day of the meeting no sun shone
in the sky, no one could find anyone else,
everything running behind time.
A handful of gardeners carried on
regardless, weeding and planting, corralling
a home for the family of hedgehogs.
We all had one foot in the garden,
the other elsewhere, still unimaginable.
This naturally involved some wobble.
News had already reached us the conifers
would be the first to go, eaten away,
if not by feral goats, by diseases
with names that sounded as if they longed
to be trees themselves; or just felled and split,
casualty of another meeting,
the city trickling ever wider, milk spilt
from a plastic container. Top of the list
was the Atlas Cedar, touchstone
and compass, old friend. We were in danger
of being locked out of the garden, looking
the other way, forgetting what we used
to call life without offending the god
of irony; distracted by square plots
cultivated inside our houses
we learned never to be without, tucking
them in our pockets, close to our hearts,
where they pulsed on our behalf. In the end
the meeting left many things undecided,
except the date of the next meeting.
Birtley Aris and his Croton, painted in the Tropical House.
There will be a NGS Open Day at Moorbank next week on Sunday 21st July, 2 – 5pm. I would encourage those of you who live in the North East to go along and make the most of this sanctuary almost hidden in the heart of the city. It’s looking beautiful and summery just now.