Across the Fence

with Ann Brooke

Secret gardens

Unless you live in a public park or a hotel, your garden is a private place to be enjoyed by you, your family and your friends. We all lead such public and accessible lives these days that privacy and solitude are increasingly rare. Those who live in towns and cities are always a subject of interest, to neighbors, to casual contacts, and to fellow workers (and to surveillance cameras). Those of us who spend time online – that’s to say, all of us – have no privacy at all. Our habits are an open book to anyone wanting to sell us something.

Among the few places where we can be alone and be ourselves are inside our homes, and in our gardens, and we should defend the privacy of these places against all would-be observers. To sit outside in our own garden, with a book, with dappled sunlight shining through the leaves, with the rustle of a breeze and the fragrance of lavender, is to be content. We should have more of it.

Better still, if passers-by can get a tantalizing glimpse of a tree in flower, a bit of wall, a hint of water, so they are left wondering what else is there, and wishing they could see it, we can also enjoy a little mystery. Let them eat their hearts out – this one’s for you!

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