I grew up in a small town, yes, but a small town that was part of a sprawling conurbation. As people from Heywood we have our own identity (oh how we have our own identity) but we're never more than 45 minutes away from the centre of Manchester (by bus).
|Miller Street, it's called that for a reason...|
|The view from my childhood bedroom window (or rather the view from the street, camera angled up. Close enough)|
From my bedroom window you could see a cotton mill, closed down now, and it wasn't a rare site in my town. Clearly this was a place born in the industrial revolution. But for all of it's industrial ghosts we didn't want for green. Even without taking into account into account how little time it took to walk into countryside proper and feed a horse with your palms flat. There was always some green. A road side verge filled with daisies, vast school playing fields, overgrown orphan patches and parks.
Parks. The biggest, the most beautiful and the crown jewel of the park is Queen's Park. I adored it as a child, it was my sanctuary when I was home from uni in the summers, I still stroll around it whenever I have the chance and remember it fondly from the other side of the country. You can sum up how the town and how I grew up like this: I may have lived on Miller Street but Queen's Park was at the end of it.
|Once a boating lake in summer and ice rink in winter, now a home to some wonderful water loving birds|
|This park separates the park from the 'woods'. The wilderness of my childhood.|
Let's leave behind Victorian England and go to the early nineties of last century when I was young. By this time the park had decayed to it's worst. Recently the park has been lucky enough to have been the recipient of a major regeneration. This is a good thing in that the park is stunning and a great place for the local people however it does mean I have no pictures of my park.
|One of the only features without improvement: A pool left to fill in and full of 'weeds'|
Let me describe it. My park is a park of decay. The gorgeous fountain, turned back on when I turned 19, had no water in it. It was covered in 'weeds' like a giant, stunning planter. I seem to remember roses growing over it but my plant identification wasn't as good back then. There where plinths without statues, the old turnstiles of the boat shed (but not much else of it) and every so often something would turn up missing or burnt out.
|A jolly nice office|
|Restored: the stunning fountain though I think it worked equally well as a planter|
Those twin lessons shaped the gardener I am today. Watching nature overrun it's intricate Victorian confines gave me a respect for it's power and a taste for the aesthetics of decay. Watching a community take ownership of a space taught me that growing is not an individual pursuit but something that effects our community at it's core.
[This post was written as a response to the 6th prompt of Gayla Trail's Grow Write Guild. Check it out.]