By Grace Franklin
As many have noticed during this ‘lockdown’ or ‘HOME STAY’ time as I prefer to call it, nature has roamed free to do her wonderful best as we humans have retreated inside.
This left the Wellington Church garden group adrift. Robin Green, Maureen Small and I were the effective leaders and links to the Mission and Outreach committee which funds the tools, seeds and expertise to manage the ‘kitchen garden’ outside the crypt back door. But all of us were in the ‘seniors’ bracket, therefore confined to barracks.
Next in line was Rory O’Duffy – a regular and enthusiastic Wednesday Conversation Corner Host. He – being an example of a ‘first’ in the medical world for some complicated medical procedures only a couple of years ago – was equally disqualified from being on site regularly.
The main problem was – with seeds in the ground and potatoes planted – how to maintain watering?
God is good! Living in the church flat is Brother Basil, a teacher of ancient Greek among other things, a walking encyclopedia of botanical knowledge and a willing volunteer to water the garden. This Brother of the Orthodox Christian tradition also has a sense of humour. (see the picture of ‘himself’ in the morning watering the garden)
Both Maureen and Rory have managed to make the garden an occasional stopping point in their daily walking route.
Rory reported this week: ‘I visited the garden and found Brother Basil there already and watering the plots. He had moved the water butt so it now stands against the wall of the lane and is fed by a hose pipe from a scullery tap.
‘We could also hear from within the church, Alan playing gently on the organ. So the church isn’t totally empty these days! Besides, I believe that such a large building should be checked on a regular basis by a ‘security guard.’ (Brad keeps an eagle eye on the place as Wellington people know.)
‘Basil and I chatted for a while (at a safe distance!) and I helped him water all the plots. He’s keeping busy. He mentioned a recent and very international ZOOM meeting he was involved in with the common language being English, of course!’
Rory sent photographs of the different plots which are all growing well and tended at irregular intervals by the people who planted them. Everyone has been instructed to stay at proper ‘social distance’ should any other person be in the garden at the same time. And all have been instructed in proper ‘sanitising’ procedures and advised to wear face coverings should that be their preference.
Rory’s own plot – planted last autumn with onions and beans, is growing successfully. But he noted some weeding is needed.
Stuart who is a stalwart of the Crypt Café Team, planted First Early seed potatoes before the Crypt Café closed. He will be happy to see they are growing well. He lives too far away to be able to walk to his plot.
Amy, who has been tending her plot since the beginning of last season, is already getting produce from it.
Kathy – whose crop of onions and garlic which had been growing well over the winter – is now bereft of her produce which disappeared from the ground. She hopes her new crop in a different allotment plot will not vanish too.
My own ‘Second Early’ potato crop is slowly gathering strength and certainly improving with the watering Brother Basil is lavishing on it.
So we can truly claim that God is at work through Mother Nature – and connecting people through a garden. Following, in a way, the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ.