In our garden, there is much activity both among the wildlife and ourselves. There are also Nature's lessons to meditate upon.
For my part, I now relish rich earth, made from the fallen leaves of autumn 2010 in the compost heap - as much as gold. There is enough to enrich many of the borders, replanted, turning the grey earth to fresh brown.
In the kitchen herb garden, I plant a border of lime or variegated green plants suited to shade, to adorn the winter, alongside the new verdigris bird bath. I cleanse Nature, by cutting back the over-reaching bay bush, its dark leaves diminishing the shape of the small cherry tree.
I start to line the concrete paths with wild geraniums, to soften them: I learnt this in July from Mildred Eldridge and the National Trust. I soften the decking edge with wild strawberries, which stay green in winter. I scrub the decking on my knees from moss and mould and find nice wood underneath, ready to be restained as oak.
I paint a small shed in "woodgreen" and " white, to match the white geraniums.
Inside the house, I take apart a book, for its loving illustrations of garden wildlife. I frame them with gold frames in rooms that I accordingly designate: "spring", "summer" and "autumn". This formally dedicates the house to its garden.
Outside, there is never a dull moment. If one looks out of the kitchen window, a brown bird longs to bathe in a seed tray filled with dirty rainwater. Then in mournful indecision, it flies off. The hyperactive squirrels on the fence have a riot of fun, chasing each others' tails. At night, busy summer spiders weave their gossamer webs across the walkways, which one's morning watering dispels.
Three lone peach-pink roses bloom on a long unpruned stem and inspire me through beauty. I will plant a rose border - to match them.
Some wild creatures are muscular. Last night a woodpecker hammered at an blasted oak above our heads, sounding like a pneumatic drill. As I walk into the far garden, acrobatic squirrels make a circus show, timing their jump across a huge gap from a scraggy pine, which was once someone's discarded Christmas tree, into the wild wood - just as I walk underneath their leap. All the time, wood pigeons croon their gloomy, monotonous notes for hours, not unlike the owl's call, but less ominous.
The sun comes out. Cabbage white butterflies dance on the slight breeze against the white geraniums in Italian terracotta pots, now held up with canes to counteract their overgrowth.
Slug-munched thyme recovers its beauty in the heat - and blooms once more. Ferns, bought and native, blossom against the bamboo fence - loving the shade and mulch. Secretly, above our heads our nine sweet chestnuts develop spikey nuts. No one but God knows if the early summer rains will make them large or sweet.
I sit in the hidden garden, listening to what the Wild Wood is saying on the warm wind. It whispers to me:
"The City has forgotten our memories of millenia of silence, in obliterating history.
The Wood has been pushed back by Man - but never completely conquered.
The Wood is still here, full of life and healing music - if people will sit still long enough to listen.
Man has forgotten the life of the Forest, and in doing so has lost birdsong, which is true music.
Nature will not be overwhelmed by Man, for it is fruiful, as he is not.
The Wood has not forgotten its Maker, as he has done.
The Wood has not forgotten beauty".