Friday, October 27, 2006


It was Fred's post that reminded me. A natural garden, full of colour, "planted by no one, for everybody".

Mine is a little more subdued colour-wise, by comparison. But entirely in keeping with the local landscape, dominated by the grey of limestone and the green of grass.

I was walking down a Yorkshire lane in the early summer of this year; or rather, I was hurrying a little - the walk out had led over open moors, the way back was alongside a river, but those two paths were linked by this short section of tarmac road; I would just as soon leave this reminder of 21st century humanity behind.

Chances were though that the dry stone walls by the side of the road had been there for many more years than the tarmac. They were a reminder of an earlier age when humankind's relationship with the landscape was more about maintaining a balance between equals - sometimes harmonious, sometimes an uneasy truce - than it was about an attempt by one to dominate the other.

As I strode down the road, I was brought up short by the sight of this little garden adorning the wall. Although the wall bordered a field and the flowers were close to a gate, there was nothing to suggest they'd been deliberately planted - such plants were present at any number of spots along the way; this just happened to be a particular concentration of them.

I'm afraid the photo doesn't do them justice. The harmonious assemblage of colour and form and texture - flower and foliage and moss and stone - had as much beauty as any garden; more so in fact, for being spontaneous and unplanned. Evolutionary you might say; perfectly adapted and filling - quite literally - a niche.

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