It’s my daughter Kala’s birthday today and the seeds have been out. Near-feral calendula are invading the grass. The nasturtiums will be invading the neighbours’. Autumn-sown annuals are up: happy poppy plants and cornflowers.
Vertical surfaces are carpeted in climbers – summer and winter clematis, multiple jasmine, clambering roses, honeysuckle. There is a frame of bee-strewn sprawling lilacs. Other perennials: montbretia, agapanthus, oleander. There are bush roses in varying colours, a deep crimson magnolia.
My daughter lives so close, I can wave and watch her watering, weeding, encouraging
I’ve been gathering seed for months. From Scandinavian suppliers Weibulls and Nelson Garden, multi-languaged packs in Swedish, Finnish, Danish and Norwegian sophisticated breeders, super-reliable seed.
This year I am adding supplies from Signe at Copenhagen Seed. Our 12-year-saved tagetes Ilkongen is starting to revert. Once pure scarlet heads sporting cartwheel stripes and yellow flashes. Signe has the motherlode from the Danish Seed Savers, so I have swapped her Higgledy Garden climbing nasturtium, dill mammoth, ammi majus, and some Franchi seed, plus a loved book of European wildflowers.
There are new packets from Plants of Distinction, also multiple sunflowers in a range of colours from multiple suppliers, cosmos from Poland and Ukraine, my favourite ‘Chrysanthemum Rainbow’ from HG, and more.
After years of dogged persuasion, Kala has been infected with the meadowing bug. Her annual flowers will be mixed in colour and height. Different species in differing spaces. No neat edges. Grass to be left longer. Accidents will be encouraged to happen.
One of the miracles in my life is that my daughter lives so close. I can wave and watch her sitting with her morning coffee and cat, wandering round, watering, weeding, encouraging. When we are isolating after returning from seeing Ina, my mother-in-law, in Denmark she’ll leave a fragrant bunch by our door. She is a gifted grower, Kala. Blessed with green fingers, good hands. Her birthday garden bears fruit.
Allan Jenkins’s Plot 29 (4th Estate, £9.99) is out now. Order it for £8.49 from guardianbookshop.com