In Face the Wind and Fly, my heroine, Kate, Courtenay, is a wind farm engineer. It’s a tough job and she’s a diminutive woman in a male-dominated world. I’d love to say she found solace in her garden, but although she adores the willow trees that gave their name to her cottage, Willow Corner, she’s not really all that into gardening. Not, that is, until she becomes involved in a plan to develop a community garden next to a nearby primary school.
She has already come up against local gardener, Ibsen Brown, and decides to put their differences over wind farm developments to one side to ask him if he will mastermind the new local garden – and Ibsen comes up with ideas that excite and enchant. It leads to … well, what does it lead to? You’ll have to read for yourself!
Some of the ideas for the Summerfield Community Garden are borrowed (loosely) from a fantastic garden exhibition my husband and I went to in France a few years ago. Others are mostly from my own imagination.
What do you look for in a garden? My own is very small, but there’s a balcony right outside my first floor dining room that has a spiral stair leading straight down into it, like a swirl of promise. There’s little bench at the bottom that catches the afternoon sun, and it’s bosky, almost overgrown with shrubs and flowers. I’m very attached to some of the plants – either we bought them on special trips (like the hydrangeas we purchased at the garden centre at Loch Fyne), or they came from my late father’s garden (like the cranesbill geranium shown here).
I’m only joking about needing a gardener. My husband loves the garden and spends hours tending it in his inimitable way. But if I did need one, you can bet I’d be hiring someone like Ibsen Brown!