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Our garden

Lockdown, day 48. From my home in Tiana, Spain.

"This is the most beautiful spring ever," said our gardener yesterday: not only because it has been raining a lot the past weeks, but also, as he said pointing upwards, because there is as good as no air traffic. The air is clean again. And indeed, vegetables and flowers here are blossoming. Last week, it rained continuously for four days, and not just a bit, it was pouring. Now the sky is blue again, the sun is shining exuberantly, and the garden is getting more beautiful by the day. At home in Amsterdam we also have two beautiful terraces full of plants and flowers. But we hardly go there. Time nor the weather allows it.

Usually, we are in Tiana for ten days a month. That's already a feast. But now, in this lockdown, we really see the garden for the first time. We see it as it is when we're not here. We see it change every day. Every day, new flowers bloom: poppies, irises, roses, lavender and more I don't know the names of. We smell the jasmine and orange blossom, we eagerly keep our eyes on the peaches and apricots becoming redder and redder and I see the clove of garlic I had put in the ground growing into a real plant. Weeds are rampant and weeding is futile. But we like to do it. The gardener comes once a week for the big jobs and we touch up a little every day. We make sure that the mint does not take up too much space, we trim the arugula and we also recently harvested peas and beans. The gardener is a great admirer

of Piet Oudolf, just like us. So he gets how we like our garden. I tell him which vegetables and herbs we like and he sows or plants them. Sometimes he puts something in the ground he chose himself. We now suddenly hae valerian growing. I have no idea what to do with it. Vice versa he doesn't understand why we want tarragon in the garden. I must give him an Ottolenghi cookbook some time soon.

Our garden is a paradise, but at the moment there is quite a dissonant. A construction site has been built next to it. It seems like they have brought in extra people today because you hear the hammering, sawing and drilling all around. Fortunately, tomorrow is Labor Day and the familiar quiet will be back, with only the twitter of the birds and the tinkling bells of the monastery next to us.

On the construction site they are working on a residential area. There used to be a house with a huge garden. Now, there will be apartments. The house and the garden have been destroyed. They have also largely taken down the trees, so the woods at the edge of our garden are thinned and we have a view of the new neighbourhood. "They can't just cut down those trees, new ones must be planted in their place, right?" I said indignantly to an acquaintance here. "Yes," was the answer, "trees will be back, but they'll put them somewhere else." So there is no other option than to plant extra trees on our side.


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