I think I probably ought to stop worrying.
When we first moved here, I was ever so worried about losing the overgrown garden’s romantic feel.
Then I started worrying about overplanting. Georgian architecture, cedar of Lebanon on sweeping lawns and a haha looking out to sheep beyond had quite a (albeit very mini) Capability Brown feel about it and stuffing it full of flowers could really spoil the innate nature of the place.
It was then the wildlife I turned my worries to. Was I taking out all their shelter and green corridors in removing the nettles and brambles? Would they stop visiting?
And just this month, our twin baby hares, one day, turned into just a single hare. I was ever so worried that Mr Fox had paid a visit, especially as it was the smaller of the two that had disappeared.
I guess alarm bells should have rung when I started worrying about running out of nettles. My favourite activity in the world is pulling nettles and the moment it suddenly dawned on me that I really was, at some point, going to beat these nettles, was somewhat bittersweet. Perhaps I ought to slow down the pulling, so I could hang on to the joy of nettle-pulling for many more years to come?
But still I worried. Until this morning. Mornings like this morning make you realise everything in the world is going to be just fine.
I was out working in the garden at 7.30am. A bit earlier than usual, but I had ground elder to fight in an area I wanted to reseed before the much needed rains commenced.
I was merrily doing my thing, down on my very bright pink kneeler, when something caught my eye. A baby hare, just in front of me, underneath the apple tree. He’d munch some grass, stand up on his hind feet and have a look around, then crouch down and munch some more. So close to me and just adorable.
I stopped what I was doing and just enjoyed the moment. Partially hidden behind the weeds, he seemed quite oblivious of me. And as he ran around the orchard, he moved in concentric circles, getting closer and closer to where I crouched. Until he was within a metre of me.
We locked eyes, but still he happily munched and hopped, sat up and crouched down again. I sat perfectly still, wishing the moment would go on forever, being reminded of those penguins wandering around us in the Falklands and thinking I really should get a somewhat more camouflaged kneeler.
And after a minute or two of my heart racing, off he went and disappeared into a mound of Arum. Right alongside the vegetable garden, where I had been working every day for the last two weeks.
I shouldn’t have been surprised. From March to September we continually stumble across baby hares. The farmer’s wife said she’d never seen leverets in our garden before but thought our lack of cats and dogs (for the first time in the property’s history for at least 45 years) would make it a very happy haven for them.
And it was then I realised that this was the missing, smaller twin. He hadn’t had a visit from Mr Fox, he’d just found himself a nice new residence and a very well hidden one at that.
I text Paul to tell him about my little visitor and of the safety of the baby twin. And as I did so, I heard sheep in the field just across the stream from me. As I peered through the gap in the wall, dozens of pairs of mother and lamb ran across in front of me, as they were moved across the farm to the next field by Meg, the sheepdog, baaing as they went. They were smaller than the lambs near the front of our house; obviously slightly newer arrivals on the scene.
I was sad when they’d all gone past. Another gorgeous event in my early morning weeding over for the minute. But I turned back and a robin had just hopped on to the area I’d been turning over, singing a tune to me as he searched for any unearthed breakfast worms.
It was at this point that I realised all will be OK. There will be sad and happy events in the world, but no matter how much influence I think I’m going to have on this garden, or what politicians in Westminster do (or don’t do), nature is incredibly robust and adaptable and will keep going, whatever.
The deer will keep coming and eating my roses, the ducks will keep coming and churning up the pond and the robins will keep coming and stealing my wormies. We are all very small fry in this big world we live in and it’s a hugely reassuring realisation that whatever I do, things will carry on just as they did before and things will be just fine.
[Click on the photo to see each caption]