Lockdown Laudato Si'

It's now two months since I moved to my temporary lockdown home, and began this strange existence we're all now getting used to. Two months of physical solitude and social distancing, the challenges and triumphs of my work, and God knows how many Zoom meetings... and two months in which I've found unexpected, daily joy in my little lockdown garden. It was, as I wrote last month, somewhat overgrown when I moved in, flourishing untamed and untrammelled, pretty much as it chose: I've tended it with a light touch, partly because I'm not an expert, but also because I wanted it to remain as bee- and butterfly-friendly as possible. So, I've cut back choking nettles and brambles, and tethered some over-enthusiastic rose and blackberry boughs, but anything potentially nectar-rich is still allowed to grow more or less as it pleases.

Spring is oozing into early summer, and the garden is greening itself into a lush little haven. The tiny lawn is only five paces square, but it has become a miniature meadow, liberally sprinkled with daisies and dandelions, buttercups and miniscule violets, and what remains of the primroses and bluebells. I walk across it gingerly, almost on tiptoe, fearful of crushing any of its loveliness. Alkanets spill over from one flowerbed, meeting a corresponding onrush of buttercups and celandine; golden-yellow blending strikingly with brilliant blue (and reminding me of the EU flag!); behind them, some small rose bushes and shrubs stretch into sunshine and space newly liberated from weeds and brambles. Lavender and aliums, blackberries and strawberries are all putting forth their first flowers, and elsewhere there's the promise of poppies... and God knows what else. So much of what grows here has appeared as a surprise gift, with me as the delighted beneficiary.

And my heart turns over, as I stand at the kitchen sink, looking out at all this; there's a balm to stepping out of the back door, even when I'm about to attack a new nettle or three... Laudato Si', mi Signore... Be praised, my Lord... for these most ordinary, humble, often overlooked plants, and the simple joy they bring me...

And what better time than Laudato Si' Week to be able to share my delight, by inviting you all in, for this virtual two-month time lapse tour? I hope you enjoy the tour, and my little lockdown garden, as much as I do!

But I realised that my images couldn't convey the everyday magic of birdsong and buzzing bees, so I also shot this brief video yesterday afternoon. You'll have to imagine the scent as I brushed past the lavender, and visualise the birds who enjoy my improvised birdbath when they can't see me, but everything else is pretty much there...