Kate Stallard: tales from my garden

Leukaemia Care trustee Kate Stallard is in remission from acute promyelocytic leukaemia (APL), and since her diagnosis she has found gardening to be a way to cope. In her second gardening article, she talks about learning to share her garden with the wildlife, and gives her tips on what to do in your garden this month.

You can read Kate’s first gardening blog here.

I don’t know about you, but I have become somewhat of a twitcher during lockdown! Spending my days shielding has meant I have developed an interest in the feathered friends visiting my garden. I marvelled at two goldfinches sat on my birdfeeder and I watched stealth-like, too scared to move an inch as the baby birds, sparrows I think, hopped on the grass, mirroring their parents. It was all really beautiful and lovely.

Until I gazed upon my raised beds one morning, watering can in hand, to find my beetroot seedlings annihilated and my lettuce leaves reduced to a few spiky remnants. The culprits: the birds! I turned the air blue and gestured to the dogs, “Have you seen this? Can you believe it!” Talking to my dogs has rapidly increased over the past few weeks; I haven’t yet voiced their ‘replies’, but I am sure that stage is not far off.

After a glass of wine and sit in the sunshine, I calmed down and have resigned myself to the fact that I can survive without beetroot and who likes lettuce anyway (well, me actually!). I have sacrificed my crops to the avian garden dwellers. They don’t appear to have touched the carrots so at least that’s something.

I’ve come to appreciate my garden not only for the mental soothing and therapy it provides, but also for the nourishment, habitat and home it gives to so many other creatures. Granted, it can be annoying at times, but does it really matter? No, not at the moment. Not in these unsettling and bizarre times.

Right now, I am loving the purple lollipop heads of the alliums, the bright purple and yellow irises and the first deep red flower blooming on the rambling rose. These pops of colour entice the bees, insects and butterflies and it’s a good feeling to think you have contributed in nurturing those little critters. It adds to a sense of purpose which right now feels very different to this time last year.

May is a wonderful time of year in the garden, as plants grow, bloom, show off their colourful displays and show promise for the coming months. It makes me feel excited to open the curtains in the morning. Hopefully soon we will see some rain, but in the meantime, I will stick to my daily routine of trips back and forth to the water butt, watering can in hand.

May is a wonderful time of year in the garden, as plants grow, bloom, show off their colourful displays and show promise for the coming months. It makes me feel excited to open the curtains in the morning. Hopefully soon we will see some rain, but in the meantime, I will stick to my daily routine of trips back and forth to the water butt, watering can in hand.

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