My father made his first garden in that house in Liggartown facing the Sperrins.
He named it Lynwood after a military march, my uncle’s was Belphegor.
Tiny bricks came out of red metal moulds like magic, like jellies.
He riddled the soil for stones like flour, the mixing of cement an alchemy
of sand and turpentine that made rainbow colours in the well and chimed
with the bubble in his spirit level. He planted swathes of Siberian orange
wallflower perfumed for christenings and birthdays that lived up to its name
as the bee flower alive with sound. Michaelmas Daisies were September flowers
and Livingstones fascinated when their pastel petals went to bed at night
opening up to the sun like us each day. Peppery lupins we anthropomorphised
into characters we visited on our bikes around the lawns – the purple lupin
was the teacher’s house, the white the doctor’s. Lilac and flowering currant
were the smells of my May altar and we had baby gardens of polyanthus –
the word seeming to grow in me as much as the flower.