Last summer a friend told me about two plots taken over by a local community group on her allotment site. An ambitious and well-meaning lot, they put up signs for their fellow plot holders. ‘We are growing food organically and with care for the environment,’ read one. ‘We are re-localising food production and placing power back into the hands of the local community,’ went another. Impressive stuff, but behind the signs the plots were chest high in a sea of brambles. Bindweed twined mockingly around these good intentions.
And so I have called this blog ‘Midnight brambling’ partly just to keep me on my toes: a constant reminder that – grand plans aside – this will all come to nowt if i dont keep at it. If I were of a technical bent I would create a forest of brambles that would slowly grow up from the base of this page, only to be beaten back by posting. But I’m really not. The name will have to do.
On a more poetic note, it is also partly inspired by a passage from one of my favourite books, the magical Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. The book is about a 12-year old boy, Douglas Spaulding, and the passage reads as follows: ‘A whole summer lay ahead to cross of the calendar, day by day. Like the goddess Siva in the travel books, he saw his hands jump everywhere, pluck sour apples, peaches, and midnight plums.’
I love that idea of walking out and plucking something from my garden at any time of the day or night; it’s the sort of garden I want to create. But calling it ‘Midnight plums’ would attract entirely the wrong kind of traffic. ‘Midnight brambling’ it is.
You might – if you’ve really got nothing better to do – question why I have a need to have a blog of my own. It’s not like I am short on places to express myself: The Guardian Gardening Blog will have me anytime I like, and I do love the passion of the thing and the ferocity of the arguments that rage on it when we get it right, Guardian readers being what they are. But the truth is I have fallen head over heels for personal blogs. I love the intimacy of them, and the ability the best bloggers have to create their own little worlds. I dont know yet if I’m up to the task, but this is it, my first step into a world I have admired and hung around the skirts of for the past year. Have a look around. Come back again soon.