28/07/2015

Window Boxes: Life in a London Flat



There’s something about lavender that lifts the mood. It’s not just its clean, fresh, fragrance (reminiscent of sea spray, loamy earth and clean sheets), but also the way the purple flowers bob and sway, conducting silent symphonies in the breeze.

In Cape Town we had a lavender garden in our front courtyard. There was a thick, high stone garden wall facing the road (as you must, in South Africa), with a heavy wooden door set in its centre. From the street it didn’t look like much, but once you entered, you were beguiled by a tiny courtyard garden planted mounds of lavender.

I miss that garden. I miss sitting on the stoop and watching the bees dance from flower to flower as the unseen traffic raced down the hill on the other side of the wall.

So, as a birthday surprise for my husband, I planted window boxes on the sills of our London flat. I ordered one box for each front window and filled them with lavender, petunias and ivy.  Now, when I sit on the couch and gaze out the window, I not only see the rows of Victorian terraced houses and plane trees, but also the bobbing lavender, the delicate ruffles of the petunia petals, and the occasional bee who has lucked out and found our tiny oasis.

The window boxes give a new dimension to the flat: there is now an inside and an outside. When the evening sun pours through the windows the lavender throws dancing shadows on the white walls. When we open the windows we can smell the sweet petunias in the warm summer air.

All that in a space 18 cm wide.

It's a miracle.

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