A Walk to the Bottom of the Garden (Vija)

Like Francis Griffiths and Elsie Wright, as a child I believed there were fairies at the bottom of my garden. Unlike Francis and Elsie, I didn’t take this any further. The story of the Cottingley Fairies went on to become one of the greatest hoaxes of the twentieth century.

When Elsie’s mother showed the photographs to the local Theosophical Society, it set in motion a chain of events that led Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to conclude that the photographs were authentic.

Then in 1920, when Conan Doyle wrote an article on fairy life, fairy fever gripped the nation.

But there are other reasons to go to the bottom of your garden!

In one of the December entries in his book The Rivington Diaries, Monty Don writes that, in order to feed his chickens, he has to walk right to the end of the garden and back, ‘which means that whatever the weather … I am obliged to have a good look at things’. There is no doubt that, in the depths of winter, having to get from one end of your garden is quite an education. You can make all kind of assessments in terms of use of space and structure, when everything is so bare.

And there are, of course, additional benefits. The scent of the viburnum bodnantense at the end of my garden is astonishing. It knocks me out every time.  Perhaps even more so in winter when there is less competition. I think I should have it closer to the house, or perhaps I should get another one.

Virburnum bodnantense

Similarly Clematis ‘Freckles’ blooms away on an obelisk throughout the winter and I did decide way back in the spring that I would get another one and plant it to scramble though the Ceanothus which stands by my back doors, so that I could admire it at all times. That never happened. Well, this was after all 2020. I shall resolve to do better next year.

But I do like the idea of a little cluster of fairies whispering somewhere under the still green leaves of my nasturtiums at the bottom of my garden!

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