The Garden in June
It’s been proven that being in green spaces is good for mental health and during the lockdowns of the past two years, many people have discovered the joy to be found in gardens, gardening and green spaces. However, many in central London don’t have access to gardens. Here at St Paul’s, we are blessed to have this garden space which we open to the public and we invite you to enjoy it and to simply be within it, particularly if you have no garden space of your own. As part of working towards our Eco-Church status, I’ll be writing each month about the highlights for the coming month and giving some suggestions for how you might connect with God’s earth within your own garden or within ours...
What to see in the garden this month
If the gardening year is a symphony, then June is the crescendo to which it has been building and roses, its featured concerto soloist. A fairly wet May has meant copious amounts of lush growth and the roses, like this voluptuous red rose, are all the better for it.
The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee is upon us this month but these wonderfully luxurious golden roses by the King Street gate were planted twenty years ago for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. I love the way their large blooms nod gracefully in the wind, the petals shades of butter fading to ivory. Make sure to get your nose in there too - they smell simply delicious!
Our most recent addition is another Jubilee rose, the ‘Elizabeth’ rose, bred for the Platinum Jubilee. Planted on the north side almost immediately as you come into the garden from Bedford Street. The first of the pink-apricot blooms have opened and there are countless more buds ready to burst into colour to celebrate Her Majesty’s 70 years as monarch.
On the Jubilee theme, here is Carol working on planting our new tree, a Cercis Siliquastrum, also known as the ‘Judas Tree’. The tree is being planted as part of The Queen’s Green Canopy, an initiative to plant trees across the UK to mark the Jubilee. The tree will be officially inaugurated at our Pentecost and Jubilee Eucharist on Sunday 5th. We are planning to add another tree in the autumn as part of the Canopy.
In other parts of the garden, whilst the soloist is the star, the harmony of a garden is built by the quieter notes of the hardy geraniums. Also known as ‘Cranesbill’ because its seed heads resemble the bill of a crane, hardy geraniums are beloved by bees and other pollinators and are related to pelargoniums, the bedding plant commonly referred to as geraniums. These blue pillows of cranesbill can be found throughout the garden and will go on flowering from now until the autumn.
Call to Action: Study a flower
Why not take a few minutes to simply be with nature? Find a flower (don’t pick it!) and study it with intention. What shape are the petals? How many are there? What colours can you see within the flower? What are the leaves like? Does it have a smell? Do any pollinators – bees, hoverflies, butterflies – visit while you are studying the flower? Perhaps say a prayer thanking God for the beauty of the flower and your connection to it and all God’s earth in this moment. By connecting with nature, we can ground ourselves, even just for a moment, in this busy city we live and work in. Doing so will pay dividends, not just for your mental health, but your spiritual health too.
We hit high summer with the jewel-like dahlias and towering hollyhocks.