On the other side of the old stone wall that surrounds my yard stands a 13th century church with massive arched windows and a clock tower that chimes every hour. While I wash dishes in the sink, my gaze falls on eight hundred year old stone walls and wooden doors reminiscent of Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings, ornate with iron scroll work and the dusty green patina that only comes with time.
I will never have another garden like this.
My children have named the trees. The graceful weeping willow with her branches sweeping the grass and rustling in the constant breeze is McGonagall, of course. The 400-year old elm tree, protected by the county as one of the few remaining ancient elms that survived some barely-remembered spate of Dutch Elm disease in the 1800s, is Dumbledore. Standing next to him is an equally massive redwood with a trunk we could barely reach around if all six of us joined hands, with gnarled branches and tangled needles, its trunk covered in creeping ivy. He is called Hagrid. And the skinny tree with brambles at the bottom? That is Voldemort.
Flowers grow in my garden bed that the property manager informed me only grow in very, very old, well-established gardens. Roses creep up the side of the slightly tilted brick garden shed attached to the side of the house, mostly inhabited by spiders.
Apples, pears, and plums are ripening on the branches of the trees in our “orchard” in the way back half of the yard, next to the church path.
With only a year left here in this magical place, I’m trying to remind myself to appreciate it while I can. I’m making a daily walk through the garden, rain or shine in true British fashion. I’m soaking it all in.
This is a garden for dreaming. To take it for granted would be a crime.