Skip to content

Eearly summer, mid-May, 7 a.m. I’m here to water the nurseries, make rainbows with the hose. I am joined by a great spotted woodpecker. There is a pair nesting nearby. A parakeet passes at head height. A morning of perfect intrigue.

I’m here a lot now, sowing, building structures for climbing plants. There are three for Jane Scotter’s sweet peas, overwintered in her greenhouse, grown freely here on filbert sticks with Howard’s willow wrapper.

Another open tent is planted with peas, a mixture of Basque teardrop and Italian franchise. The structure of the big bean is seeded with a flat French cream and a classic green bunch.

The new soil is arranged in neat rows, the first sown with our preserved seeds: orache, Hopi amaranth, tagetes ildkongen. There are two long strips of white and rainbow chard. The shorter series have Italian chicory: red Treviso, speckled Castelfranco, green puntarelle.

I’ve also bought Jekka Herb Chicory Seeds, mostly for the flowers, but haven’t found a place among the dill and chervil yet. The end of the bed is strewn with trailing nasturtiums, there is calendula scattered.

I slipped some sunflowers, hidden from Howard. There may be a small patch of Mexican corn, a little blue, a little red. We are quickly running out of space.

I lay awake worrying about how the babies will be. Small, powerless against slugs and snails. There’s nothing to do but watch, offer encouragement, and feed them algae. My next task is to collect nettles for a Fertilizer Tea.

Most of the time I’m here to stand in the morning sun, look for signs of life, listen to the birds, talk to wild cats. I wonder where the fox is. Common, if you will. Be here now.

Allan Jenkins’ Plot 29 (4th Estate, £9.99) is out now. Order it for £8.49 at

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.