Sorcerer’s Apprentice Gray Magic | gardening tips

One of the unspoken joys of an older man’s life is his ability to underestimate a son or daughter. Be patient and I’ll explain.

Kala has lived near us for a few years now. We see her in her garden. Mostly watering or cuddling her cat, stunning roses, obsessing over green flies, watching her clematis. And then this year, she started painting her fence. From neutral white to deep dark grey. Layer after layer. I was worried. It is a city garden with neighbors on all sides. I was worried it would reduce the space. Well, I was wrong.

Just before her birthday in mid-May, I came to have tea and cookies and organize our day to sow. I collect flower seeds for her throughout the year. I keep and collect poppy pods when I see them. I loot a neighbour’s wilted nigella.

When ordering calendula or beans and peas for allocation for us I add zinnia, cosmos, blueberry, tithonia, godetia, rudbeckia, larkspur and our rainbow favorite chrysanthemum sky for Kala. There are always sweet peas for her corner, added sunflowers for height. There are jasmines, other climbing plants, many roses and perennial flowers. Pots abound. Like I said, it’s just a little garden.

Last week was our planning day. I brought chocolate florentines. Kala made tea. There were self-sown sunflowers from last year. Nasturtium seedlings are growing everywhere. There was new lush grass found free on Gumtree. But the revelation was the darkest closure.

Clever Kala has created a spectacular backdrop for its climbing flowers. An austere setting also for the purple rose, the blue agapanthus, all the fresh green. But alongside that there is calm, a new intimacy. She conjured a secret space. In the middle of a bustling terrace in London’s Kentish Town.

My gardener daughter has passed me. I saw myself in Merlin, but the teenage witch has woven her own magical place. I couldn’t be prouder.

Allan Jenkins’ Plot 29 (4th Estate, £9.99) is out now. Order it for £8.49 at

The title of this article was changed on May 22, 2022 to better reflect the content of the article.

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