The external institute which funds my research sent me some seeds for planting wild flowers. It’s a sort of wellbeing exercise, while everyone is confined and feeling a bit on edge, how do you lift people’s spirits? Go plant some flowers.

So I went to Port Meadow to scatter some of the seeds around, and came back with a handful of soil, which I put in some glass jars along with the remaining seeds. I left the jars at the end of the garden, and every day the sun dried out the soil, leaving it dusty and sterile. I watered the soil as much as possible, but after a few weeks I started to wonder whether the seeds had died.

On my last day in Oxford, I emptied the jars, and was surprised to see some green shoots hidden underneath the topsoil.

flower shoots

The flowers were sprouting after all! Maybe I’ll see them growing in the garden next time I come back.

creeping barberry

I like the idea of rewilding in practice, a gentle form of guerilla gardening. And, as a measure to improve my mental health, it definitely made me feel better.