I am a firm believer of exploring one's neighbourhood... that you can live anywhere really, and still find hidden treasures - sights and sounds and faces that warm the heart and nourish the soul. Milka's garden is a bit like that. Only a short walk up our road we are met by a untidy looking painted sign "PLANTS FOR SALE" with a few limp looking balloons wavering in the wind. An open gate leads you into the miraculous world that is Milka's garden.... hundreds, thousands perhaps of carefully tended, potted plants... succulents of every shape and colour; hanging plants; lilies, orchids... plants growing in tea cups, bowls, rubber shoes... Milka's thick accent and brilliant dyed red hair seems to blend in beautifully with her exotic, luscious growing things... Reuben coos and waves and flaps his arms. In so many ways her garden reminds me of the beautiful picture book by Gene Zion "The Plant Sitter
" - where a young boy takes on the ambitious project of having a house sitting service for his friends and neighbours only to find he is left with too many plants to look after (and they end up taking over his house!) We take a little of Milka's garden home with us to plant in the big earthen pot by the front path... I breathe deeply and prepare for a great big mess and find, to my joy, that actually Reu is very good at digging... planting... watering... and making a great big mess!