According to my big sister, I’ve been gardening since I learnt to walk, and I picked up that skill about the usual time. Aged three, I successfully petitioned for my own patch in the family garden and planted my first nasturtium seeds at the bottom of the old lilac tree. The sprouting seeds survived being dug up several times ‘to see if they’re growing yet’; against all the odds, the plants grew strong and healthy. The hooded, bent-necked flower buds opened into extravagant blooms of yellow, orange and red, and I was hooked. Since then I’ve counted a patch of earth and a packet of seeds among my essentials wherever I’ve moved.
Sometimes a patch of earth is an unattainable luxury. In student bedsits I started to explore the possibilities of window boxes – nasturtiums again, but also herbs, lettuces and tomatoes. Many gardens followed, my own and those I designed or dug for other people, but in early 2014 I found myself back to a window box again, this time at the window of a fifth floor flat in central Paris. The window box, before replanting, is at the right of this picture. And that might be the very top of the Eiffel Tower, to the left of the blue pipework of the Pompidou Centre….