In my case, a little wildly. I’m a great believer in low maintenance gardening. I like planting things and watching them grow, but when it comes to keeping it all under control, I’m quite happy for it to take over. The more green stuff there is, growing densely, the more relaxed I feel.
Of course, I do some maintenance, like planting spring bulbs, cutting back bushes and shrubs in the autumn, raking up leaves, and refreshing the contents of my pots, but that’s about it. And let’s not mention
Nature plays a big role in my books. In Up Close, which is set on the North Norfolk coast in the dead of winter, the bleak and bare landscape reflects the state of mind of the main character Lia, who returns to her grandmother’s house to deal with the estate of the old lady’s death.
Contrastingly, the forested area around Hounslow Heath where The Highwayman’s Daughter is set, offers protection for the heroine Cora’s illegal activities and is also a source of food. Here she collects herbs, berries and wild garlic, and her father Ned will sometimes catch a rabbit in a snare for the cooking pot. The novel takes place in summer, but obviously finding food in winter would have been a real challenge for the characters.
In Blueprint for Love the main character Hazel moves from a flat in London to take up a job for an architectural firm based out of an old Jacobean manor house in the country. Here the gardens and the park around it are laid out to a formal design and represent the structure that Hazel longs for in her own life.
Here are some pictures from my garden, an untidy space which never fails to inspire me and feed my imagination – whatever the weather.