Tag Archives: nurturing a garden



In 1993 – after living and working in the USA for twenty eight years, I returned to the UK/Europe. I moved to Crickhowell, Wales to be with my cousin and family.

I was so happy to be home. So happy to smell the traditional English/Welsh pastries in Annwyn the bakers along with the smell of Welsh soil and lambs playing in the fields.

I had experienced some happy years in the States with my dear husband Bill Reed and of course the two children – however when my marriage fell apart and the children were old enough, it was time to return home.

During the first six years of living in the States, prior to meeting and marrying Bill, I felt deep pangs of home sickness. I learned that to be homesick is a very painful condition. I almost returned to the UK in 1971 just before Bill and I met and married in 1972. However………..

Life is full of ‘Sliding Doors……..

Crickhowell – Wales

The people of Ukraine are going through a living hell. As we think about their pain and longing for everything that has been familiar to them including their land and soil, it must give us pause to look at our own lives on many levels…and most importantly to not take anything for granted.

If and when they are able to return home….what will home look like after their land has been defiled by Putin!!

As fellow humans we must love and nurture them as we would our own families. We must try to counteract the horrors that they are now living through. The only way I know to do this is to come together with love and kindness

My little garden in Crickhowell which I Loved and nurtured….and of course Christeve the Cat – my constant companion at that time:)

When I look at this picture today I think of all the gardens and animals that the Ukrainian people and all other refugees have had to leave behind…along with all their shattered hopes and dreams.

Today there are nearly thirty million refugees globally and as climate change tightens its grip and war rages on…those numbers are rising by the day.

We cannot and must not bury our heads any moreto do so means that anyone of us could be next….Monsters like Putin want to conquer the world.

It is the simple things in life that give the greatest pleasure….

In this image I am sharing food with my very dear friends Sally and Gareth in Wales overlooking the magnificent Usk Valley and Brecon Beacons.

The Garden (2)

When we nurture a garden, it gives us so much back….and this was the case with my little Secret Garden in The Magical Town of Crickadoon.

I would sit for hours on this little bench, where all my sense were fed.    There was the natural perfume of nature, the beautiful sounds of bird song, and the visual delights of butterflies and bees as they enjoyed all the foods the garden had to offer. 



When the rose petals fell to the ground like confetti, I would put them in a bowl with a little water…

Sitting enveloped by lavender bushes, I was able to experience the healing and calmness that this beautiful shrub gives.

Another quote from Francis Hodgson Burnett’s – The Secret Garden

And the Secret Garden bloomed and bloomed and every morning revealed new miracles’

I had french doors that opened up onto the garden allowing all the smells and sounds of the garden to come indoors….everything was connected.    





A Bientôt

The Garden

Although I was born in London, I grew up in the county of Kent, also called The Garden of England.

Where there were once bluebell woods, fields full of hops, fruit trees, and dancing lambs in the spring time, today we see enormous change in the form of housing developments and motorways.

Given its close proximity to London, and the Channel Tunnel, Kent has become a major throughway by train or car for commuters and for those traveling to the wider continent of Europe.

As an only child, I loved our garden and the surrounding woodlands.    I amused myself by digging holes in the garden with the hope that i might reach Australia.     I would bury jars with notes and little toys…..maybe they are still there:)

When I returned to the UK in 1993, I made my home in the Magical Town of Crickadoon (Crickhowell, Wales), and it was here that with the help of Mother Nature, I developed my own little Secret Garden. 

Here is the garden in full bloom and my cat Cristeve, who inspired the book ‘Christeve the Cat Finds a New Home’, climbing the ladder put there especially for her to visit her friends next door.


I learned so much from this little garden.    It taught and reminded me of the natural rhythms and patterns of nature, and once again I was able to observe the interconnectedness of all life. 

When I first saw the garden it was a little plot filled with junk, and debris collected over many years of neglect.    It was fenced in, and had a small wooden shed in one corner….all very dilapidated and overgrown, but I could see the promise and potential. 

It so happened that I saw this photograph in a magazine, and knew that it would be my guide.    A jumping off point….a term I often use when using photography for painting reference.


The first thing I did, was to completely dig the garden over….and put down stone slabs.


The Magical Town of Crickadoon, is in the heart of the beautiful Usk Valley, Wales.    Over the centuries the land has been flooded and reworked by different gardeners making the soil rich with nutrients.     This little patch had been left fallow for over twenty years which made it ripe for growing.

Friends and neighbours in Crickadoon, gave me cuttings from their gardens….and slowly I watched my garden grow.


And grow


Everything I planted was to encourage birds, bees, butterflies, field mice, caterpillars and every other little insect that inhabit the soil we walk on, and oh my goodness they came along with their beautiful bird song, colour and energy.

I learned that as long as I nurtured the garden, the garden nurtured and fed my senses and soul.  

My sitting room had french doors opening up onto the garden, which meant that even if it was raining hard, I could sit inside and still enjoy the feeling of  being outside.

Scan 109 


I would sit on the little stone bench through the rose arbor with Christeve the Cat, listening to bird song and enjoying the beautiful perfumes of nature.       Magical moments indeed.

I was always reminded that even a tiny garden like this one, nurtures a whole community of seen and unseen life. 

til August 10 1037

To quote Frances Hodgson Burnett, from the book The Secret Garden   ‘If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden’

A Magical Hummingbird helping to pollinate gardens.



A Bientôt