Magic moments in the garden

It’s been pretty intensive in the gated plot these last few days as we’ve worked hard to build the raised beds, repaint the wall, put up the trellis wires for the mini-orchard and get the raised beds filled with rich soil ready for Sunday’s fruit planting event.

But it’s also been quite magical. It’s made me realise how the garden seems to bring out the best in people. On Wednesday, we were offered around a ton of soil improver from the composting company at the Beddingham recycling plant near Lewes. It arrived loose in a truck early on Thursday morning. I sent out a plea to Ditchling Rise Area residents midday on Wednesday and by Wednesday evening, someone had loaned us a wheel-barrow and a large tarpaulin. At 8am on Thursday morning, a group of around five neighbours equipped with shovels appeared to help shift the mound of compost that arrived, steaming, on the station forecourt. As some went off to work, reinforcements arrived, and by 9.30, we’d moved the (compost) mountain.

On Thursday afternoon, Brighton Permaculture Trust arrived with sixty bags of rich soil. As I was unloading them with Luke, a young man dressed carefully in top range sports gear stood watching us. After a moment, he offered to help. He spent 10 minutes helping us carry muddy bags into the garden – never mind the fact that he got soil on his clothes and very dirty hands. I was quite moved by the unexpected gesture.

This morning, as I was digging energetically to mix the Permaculture soil with the Beddingham soil improver, I was distracted by the lovely tinkly sound of what turned out to be a ukelele. Unexpected music in the street is always magic. Narainder said he’d just bought the instrument and had never really played it, but it sounded fun. We talked about music and gardening being great social unifiers.

The interest of passers-by, the conversations, the good humour, the unexpected acts of generosity have been the magic moments of gardening at the station that inspire and motivate. And today, finally, the weather also brought the magic of blue skies and warm sunshine: for the first time, it really felt like spring.

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