Gardening in the City 2021

The Convent Garden 


When it rains in Africa it is called a blessing. This year we have had our fair share of blessings. Our court yard garden gives us much pleasure and is easy to maintain given the abundance of rain. However, we have claimed back Allotment No.13 in the Cable Street Community Gardens. It has been in our name since the 1980s but has been shared with Andy and Angel in recent times.

Since it is just across the road from the convent, access is easy and we have used it this year in particular. We share is with Sybil from South America and Lynn from the first floor of Coberg Dwellings. It has been planted and watered and enjoyed throughout the summer. Even the less mobile can cross the road and get lost in the birdsong, greenery and the sound of the universe.

The Allotment is a friendly place as “tenants” pass on information and tips about good practice. There is always produce to share and each weekend Jane, who is responsible for the whole enterprise, brings a bunch of flowers to us.

This week I noticed the potatoes and tomatoes had blackened only to discover we had blight! – the very fungus which caused the Irish Famine 1845-1849. It blows in the air and just lodges on certain areas. Some allotments escaped completely, others were totally wiped out.

The Allotment across the Road from the Convent


We are not allowed pesticides as we are all friends of the earth so even the snails have free reign or as Pope Francis calls them “the smallest of His creatures”.

The whole idea of tilling the allotment was to produce a harvest but the results are disappointing, though the journey was meaningful. There are still Brussel Sprouts to look forward to and the joy the space gave us cannot be measured.

Robert Louis Stevenson once said “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant”. The time across the road has been filled with heart warming Community Spirit and only God knows what next year will bring.

Sister Patricia McMahon