I share a communal garden in the midst of Edinburgh. It feels like the countryside though. If you go out the front door of the old Edinburgh style tenement there is a busy road. Out the back backdoor, however, the garden is only overlooked by a hill full of greenery. The birds are singing, the fox cubs are playing (and generally trying to steal anything of interest), the squirrels are chasing each other and the traffic feels like a mile away; although sometimes we hear the blast of a train horn coming into Waverley.
Like a lot of Edinburgh flats the ceilings are high, the stairways cool and the gardens are shared. Ours is only used regularly by 4 flats; me included. We are a quirky bunch and all very different but we socialise, bbq, drink wine / beer, sing and play along on whatever instrument makes an appearance. The summer months will always find one or more of us sharing the space. Sometimes we chat, laugh and generally have fun; sometimes we grab our own little corner and read.
It’s a hotchpot of a garden. An old picnic table and bench, some chairs scattered round and a corner bench made of sleepers offer plenty of areas to sit in. We have a pond, thankfully some grass to lie on in the sun, trees, walls, and a mix of plants, flowers and veg patches. Rustic and unorganised would be an apt description.
We keep the garden maintained which takes a lot of work but no one is too fussy about having an overly structured space. This thankfully avoids arguments but on occasion we all fall out about something or other. It doesn’t last long; it would be awkward if it did as how else would we all get fed (the bbq is an essential cooking space for summer dinners…even some winter ones).
They are currently in full bloom with more to come. My absolute favourite is the Californian poppies (my neighbour planted them) but there are great flowers in every corner of the garden. I took some photos today of a range. I haven’t a clue what they are all called but I’m sure one of the neighbours will.
Apart from my neighbours and myself…we are really proud of all the wildlife in such an urban environment. The foxes all get names. Even the unusually coloured pigeon (a white one) has one. The squirrels don’t get names due to the fact they annoyingly dig up any tasty looking bulb we try and plant in spring. They occasionally have a stampede through my raised beds but I haven’t lost any vegetables yet. The cheeky fox cub does like to steal garden aids. Yesterday I saw him running out of his secret bolt hole (not too secret) with my foam garden mat. Cheeky little thing. I chased him and triumphantly got it back. He admitted defeat and sat next to me for a bit whilst I soaked up the last of the sun with a glass of wine.
The flowers, the wildlife and my vegetable patch are a little slice of serenity in the midst of the city. I have a few days off from work. I am praying for the sun to be out. But even if it isn’t, I will be out, in the garden, pottering and taking a break from the grind of a busy forty something life.