Last week we drove out to a small village in South Yorkshire to visit friends.  It was a stormy afternoon, but by the time we arrived at the house, the sun had come out and it felt warm. I was immediately enchanted by the spirit of their garden.

The big cottage-like house belonged to a sweet eccentric woman who passed away last year, she was in her 90’s and tended the garden until she died. From the sounds of birds and bees, to the colours and the scent everything in it spoke of summer, of England, of the types of afternoons that we all dream about, and I found myself caught in a bit of an identity dilema. Has my imaginary ideal of flowers and gardens slowly, with the years, become British? I hark back to Palo Borracho flowers and bougainvillaea visited by hummingbirds, but it is the peonies and old roses, sweet peas, and herbaceous borders in bloom that make me giddy…

My passion for gardening started in this country, with the purchase of our first house in 1995 which had just a patch of lawn and no plants. I became an obsessive grower of flowers, and I loved the build up of anticipation to the seasons and to the different flowering plants I had planted. We always grew our own vegetables in an allotment and flowers were sown alongside lettuces and potatoes. In the allotment we grew cutting flowers, at home I grew shrubs and cottage perennials. I guess my love of gardens developed in this country so there is undoubtedly a connection, and that intrinsic hope for summer that seeps into you as you settle into your life in this water washed Islands.

I strolled around the beautiful garden, taking pictures and smelling roses, feeling the sun tingle in my arms. Nothing better, I thought, than a beautiful English Garden in June…nothing better than a June afternoon in the garden in the sun.

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