OBSERVATIONS OF LOCKDOWN IN A COMMUNITY GARDEN

Unlocking the padlock on the gate, a bit of apprehension. What will I find? Birds, unused to being disturbed, fly back into the hedges and trees. Each week it seems like nature is reasserting itself and growing uninhibited, basking in the glorious sunshine and taking over the spaces we usually try to control. Weeds growing through gaps in the paving, running riot in the borders and native flowers taking over the grass areas. The birds come back out, bathing at the edge of the pond and in the dust. The bird song is loud and heavenly.

But it is a bit eerie – being in this space that was once alive with people. No longer opening the gates to welcome them in. No more regulars popping in for a quick chat and to check on the pond, or the birds, or the roses. And no clients working in different parts of the garden, having tea outside, joking and laughing.

The contrast between the busy outside world and the garden isn’t so obvious anymore. Outside the gates, it’s also eerily quiet. No passers by chatting, no kids going to and from school, no shouting and squealing from the adventure playground, and no traffic. Inside the garden, the birds reclaim the space, the foxes leave behind rubbish from their scavenging and the squirrels run about unhindered.