Poignant dreams of the plot from afar

A year now of near continuous exile. A relationship fractured, like the time. My fourth month away for weeks at a go – called by other obligations. A year of sickness, too close to home: Henri’s mother battling a litany of illness. We are here now to help where we can.

Gardening has been my healing; the place I turn to when words, memories and worlds overwhelm. There, alone, growing among food and flowers, I hear silent songs of peace. A non-verbal inner conversation. My quiet mantra of care.

Plot 29 is where I tend anxieties, lay to rest the lurid ghosts of my life. I calm the frightened child. I care for seedlings, helpless like we once were. And now there is another person dear to me, family, in need of love and company.

The plot will wait, patiently, I hope – though I am aware there will be a price to pay. You see, I think land likes constancy, responds to reliability. It is a relationship built on trust – that I will be there when the blackfly, whitefly and greenfly attack; the hungry pigeons, slugs and snails lying in wait. I will return to turn the soil, to dispense food and water. I will let in light, play my part in its life.

For now, this year’s seeds are bought, summer’s colours and flavours contained. Spring is calling. A time of growing and gathering. The season of promise.

The ponds’ frogs will be stirring, the birds will be pairing, the Treviso chicory will colour. The resident herb fennel will shoot. The plot will wait, impatient on my return.

Until then, Howard and Rose will check in and make regular visits. I will be here at home. Confined, but with the first root trainer trays soon sprouting. I will scan Howard’s artful Instagram feed (@idleriver). Light will lift, the garden year will turn. I will be back to plot 29 soon enough.

Allan Jenkins’s Plot 29 (4th Estate, £9.99) is out now. Order it for £8.49 from


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