There is a way that tending a garden brings out our goodness. Caring for soil and seedlings, watering and feeding - there is no fundamental requirement to plant flowers and shrubs, ornamental beds and borders, yet somehow we are compelled to put hands in earth and tease tiny sprouts from the dark dirt.
I recently visited my mother's rooftop garden - a place she has transformed from a rickety tar and gravel outpost above her business to an intriging, tranquil green space that manages to be both soothing and whimsical (a little like her, actually).
What refreshment it is to sit in this leafy flowering place and contemplate a cup of tea and toast with jam. A little buddha statue sits unperturbed and inscrutable amid lobelia, herbs clamour out of their pots and Picasso petunias flirtily display their fushia and lime-green loveliness. And never mind the happy-faced pansies sticking their noses into everything.
Beans, peas, lettuce and cucumbers compete for root space and riot out of window boxes and across tabletops almost as though they are unbearably happy to be growing and eager to be plucked for salads, soups and snacks.
This is full-hearted gardening and perfect profusion. Un jardin d'amour.