Irene Strange reports on the Southsea Green Community Garden during lockdown, and provides a poem celebrating some of its produce.
Whether it is the rainbow colours of the butterflies in the Butterfly House at the Natural History Museum, or the butterflies flitting around our Southsea Green Community Garden at Canoe Lake, each species enlightens the environment with the beauty of their colour – red and orange, yellow and green, blue, indigo and violet.
This year has been no exception, despite the uncertainty of the past few months, when the lockdown caused the bright blue gates of the garden to be closed to the public. Behind those gates, our volunteer gardeners, wearing protective face masks and following social distancing, endeavoured to fulfil the tasks required to keep the garden sustained: constant watering of the parched earth during the heatwave; tending the growing seeds; encouraging the yellow and orange blossoms on growing vegetables.
Under the volunteers’ care, the garden flourished bringing forth a rainbow of colours: green and purple runner beans, cucumbers hung ready for picking. The bread-fruits turned through shades of indigo and purple, whilst around the hedges of the garden, the ripening berries turned through red-to-blue to become juicy blackberries. Parsnips and new potatoes pushed up amidst the salad pepper, lettuce and garlic. And the bright sun’s rays shone on the polytunnel, turning the tomatoes red.
At the bottom of the garden, right next to the ‘Wormery’, stands a huge fig tree, heavy under the weight of greenish-blue skins that slowly ripened in the warmth of the sun. I tell the children that fairies hide in the shade beneath.
The butterflies in their rainbow colours and the bees hovered, as the resident robins flitted in and out of the bushes. In the pond, frogs hopped about, whilst orange goldfish swam under the green pondweed.
Here in our Southsea Green Community Garden, we found our ‘2020 Rainbow’ behind those locked bright blue gates.
A Rainbow Garden
Beautiful fuchsias of red and purple
Overhang bushes of sweet myrtle.
Feathery grasses so green
Sway gracefully in between.
Rambling roses in shades of pink and red
Clamber over the foxglove’s head.
Orange nasturtiums intertwine
Amidst the white columbine.
Perfumed jasmine fills the air
Bees and butterflies linger there.
A rainbow of flowers in every hue,
Growing in the garden for me and you.
So, pause awhile, and think and pray,
For God’s gift of beauty, we thank each day.
Inspiration: The Southsea Green Community Garden in the Canoe Lake Park area of Southsea, whilst fighting to remain sustainable in these difficult lockdown times, has persevered to produce this array of rainbow-coloured fruit and vegetables from which I have been able to draw inspiration.
Pens of the Earth is about encouraging writers to celebrate existing environmental initiatives, and to imagine what might be.
Help us to support our global reforestation charity Tree Sisters and plant 2,000 trees by March 2021.
Click on the logo above to donate via Pens of the Earth’s TreeSisters page. Every £10 plants around 25 trees.
Learn more about Pens of the Earth: www.pensoftheearth.co.uk.
Sign up to the Pens of the Earth mailing list.
Star & Crescent are proud to support Pens of the Earth as a media partner. Stay up to date with all the Pens of the Earth stories as they’re published here.