Looking to the future

An English garden in bloom

The Silver Line founder, Dame Esther Rantzen, is waiting for the flowers to bloom again after lockdown ends.

It’s such a perfect spring that if the world were normal I am sure we oldies would be out there in our favourite garden centres, stretching our wallets, buying everything in reach, all the wallflower seedlings, and petunias, and tomato plants. But we can’t because we’re all in lockdown, and among all the other shops and companies, our nation’s favourites, the garden centres, have been closed down.  

It’s so sad that all those lovingly cultivated bedding plants are wilting now for lack of customers. Although I must admit I’m not a fan of all the summer bedding – my late husband hated French marigolds, so martial and military in their red and gold shoulders-back posture – and I find Busy Lizzies, which my best friend adores, rather common.  

Now there’s a word not in use today; my mother always denigrated everything she thought bad taste as ‘common’.  So I won’t dismiss Busy Lizzies completely, because, as my friend always points out, she saw them planted in Monet’s beautiful garden in Giverny, and nobody could call Monet common. Not even my snobbish mother.

But my point is, when the Government eventually release us from the current complete lockdown, I do hope that garden centres are in the first tranche to be released. We are, after all, a nation of gardeners. Even though some of us haven’t got our own gardens, we still enjoy the parks, city squares and window boxes which are crying out to be replanted. And the allotments will be useful when it’s the season for salads, and asparagus, and raspberries. 

So let’s petition the Government to release our garden centres from lockdown as soon as possible, while we promise to keep a safe distance from each other while we’re purchasing our seeds and blooms.  That way we can invest in those who cultivate our plants and flowers, we can help to keep our crucial gardening industry going, and give ourselves the therapy and delight of a summer garden.

What do you most miss in lockdown?  What would you choose to be opened up as soon as possible?