I am really proud of what I’ve managed to do here. Inspired by my small veg patch at home this was a patch of straggly weedy ground (complete with part compost part broken concrete heap), a blank canvas that I transformed from the picture below taken at the end of May, to the video taken last night, so about 7 wks).
It’s 30ft wide by 24ft deep. True, some fit healthy person could’ve laid this out a lot quicker, but with ME/CFS n Fibromyalgia it has taken me little and often. Sometimes going for an hr and just doing a few minutes within that time. At other times doing more but up all night in agony afterwards and sometimes days too. Was it worth it? Yes, totally.
Despite what you might think I didn't actually do any digging. I only marked out the edges of the beds, putting any loose soil on top of the ground inside the marked out areas. Any soil improvement will have to come from the plants and the beings that live there, such as the worms and beetles.
Thankfully the weeds were extremely easy to pull up and I did have some help. Weeding wise I just sat on the ground and pulled them up using a mini fork to help.
It’s organic eco friendly French parterre meets rewilding. I know some may think this is ridiculous, but this is my vision. The idea is that the low growing weeds keep the soil cool, damp (meaning less watering) and attracting insects while hopefully distracting the slugs from other plants. There’s food for my wild neighbours and a pond (bottom of an old guinea pig cage) n bird bath (upturned lid on the compost bin) too for a drink.
Sidney Serpent is a bit of reused gifted old hosepipe I can use for refilling pond and birdbath. (yes, I gave it a black tape tongue n drawn on Sharpie eyes, because why not?) Plus some veggie n herb nibbles are starting to appear for me too.
In dealing with disability and neurodiversity this wasn’t and isn’t about mega cropping, but something about creative and sustainable I could do for myself and a respite from some not inconsiderable challenges that have been unfolding. It is another way for me to connect with the plants and earth.
Already there are bees and insects, robin and other birds visiting and hopefully the fox & badger that folks see down there will enjoy a drink from the pond. It is a very small attempt to work in partnership with the land rather than just colonising like the plague we humans have become.
I have immense gratitude for the ever unfolding miracle of plants and for Mother Earth who never ceases to amaze me. I have been going and thanking the land and the plants and acknowledging the beings who were there first. Hopefully my vision for it will 'give something' back to the land and its' beings.
Big thanks must go to my dear friends Lionel Cox, Eleanor Mitchell Olga Whitmore for some lovely plants. Also to James Murray White for the organic squash seeds (some grew n doing well) Julie Climpson for the newspapers for the paths and Aimee Standring for the compost bin which I painted ‘in theme’. Also to the unknown allotment holder for leaving the hosepipe on the allotment ‘share table’ to be reused by someone else ie me. And to the tree surgeon for the wood chips given to the allotments that went on top of the paper that made the paths.
Finally, to Melina Sempil Watts, my dear friend across the pond this video is for you.
All the objects you see are old secondhand upcycled junk that cost nothing. There is still lots more to do here and more ideas to unfold. This is just the start.
Amanda Claire x
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I live with hidden disability and I'm passionate about enabling people to 'Live With Art And Soul.'
I'm the founder of Ancient and Sacred Trees that plants & protects trees in the Tropics & the UK, an MA Archaeology student, artist, teacher, healer and land guide. I love trees, history and the healing power of Mother Nature & sacred connection.