Open gardens in a time of lockdown

Posted on June 17, 2020

For the past fifteen years the Divinity Road Area Residents Association (DRARA) Lord Muck’s neighbourhood residents association, has organized an initiative to show off the glories of it local gardens hidden behind those Victorian facades. Indeed this Open Garden event has become a fixture of the social calendar every early summer,  and most years Lord Muck has been a participant. There is a bit of a downside to that. Showing off the glories of your own garden and answering the questions of the visiting hordes (well at least a couple of dozen people) means you can never get to see those of your neighbours. And some of the neighbours are very good inventive gardeners. The one that consisted entirely of poisonous or stinging plants was always a highlight – as long as you weren’t accompanied by young children.

This year though everything is different. A combinaton of lockdown and glorous Spring weather (May was the sunniest month ever recorded in Oxford, and less helpfully, the driest May since the 18C with just 3.5 m of rainfall)  has enabled people to focus on their gardens. Indeed a fair few neighbours have been doing some major works, ranging from the construction of an extremely impressive ‘man shed’, to the re-turfing of their entire back yard. But of course  lockdown and social distancing rules have meant no Open Gardens this year. Or at least not in any physical sense. But  it seemed a shame to lose all that hard work and  clement weather, so as with so many other aspects of life under lockdown, the gardens took to the virtual world. All participants were invited to share up to eight photos with an introduction and commentary on each, to be launched on the designated day – 14 June –  as a virtual tour. Here it is and Muck’s garden is featured first, with of course a photo of  the compost heap as introductory picture:

What a joy a they are! How diverse are those little patches behind some rather similar Victorian and Edwardian facades; formal, bird friendly, water-based, perspective and view-focussed…. and all the proud owners can see everyboyd else’s garden as well for once.

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