Ianto smiled in satisfaction as he looked around himself. With the coming of the warmer weather, all the hard work he and Jack had put in since moving into their new place was finally starting to pay dividends.
Creating a garden on the roof of the old warehouse that now contained their spacious, split-level flat had at times been more of an effort than either of them had felt like making after a long day at the Hub, but they’d persevered, determined to have an outdoor space to enjoy. They’d built raised beds on the specially reinforced and waterproofed roof, lugged countless bags of compost up in the lift to fill them, laid artificial turf, dragged huge planters and tubs into place, and put in supports for clematis and rambling roses. They’d planted espalier fruit trees against south and west facing walls during the winter, and tied into place branches that had since blossomed, although there wouldn’t be much fruit this year. At the moment, it was more important for the trees to put their energy into developing their root systems.
Just a few weeks earlier, on a rare day off, Ianto, with Jack in tow, had made a trip to the local garden centre, buying a wide array of bedding plants to fill in the gaps until the perennials they’d already planted got established. Spoiled for choice, they’d bought so many it had taken them nearly a week in their spare time to get everything in. Ianto had even planted up hanging baskets with trailing petunias and lobelia, hanging them from brackets they’d fixed up to either side of each set of the French doors that led from various rooms out into the roof garden.
Ever since they’d finished the planting, he and Jack had had their work cut out for them keeping everything watered through an unusually dry spring. They’d lost a few plants, but others had bushed out, taking advantage of the extra space, and now as spring turned to summer, there were flowers everywhere he looked; cosmos and asters, snapdragons and calendulas, pansies, poppies, sweet alyssum, dianthus, and cornflowers, stately spires of lupins, and so many more. Jack had wanted a cottage garden feel, and they’d certainly achieved that, even if some of the colours clashed violently. Orange and purple really didn’t go together, but somehow Ianto didn’t find the sight as jarringly unpleasant when flowers were involved. Perhaps that was because there was so much green in the mix to take the edge off the eye-watering garishness.
In a sunny spot, a double row of tubs held almost a dozen different outdoor tomato varieties, because Jack hadn’t been able to make up his mind which he wanted to try and in typical Jack fashion, had ended up buying two of each. By next year, Ianto hoped they’d have a greenhouse set up for growing a few indoor varieties, as well as peppers, and possibly aubergines.
A little further along from the tomatoes, the strawberry tubs were flourishing, promising plenty of fruit provided the pigeons and other birds could be kept off them. Building a fruit cage to protect them was the next task on the agenda, but they hadn’t found time yet to get everything they needed for it. In the meantime, there were plenty of other things to do; deadheading, with the spent blooms going in the compost bin they’d bought, sweet peas to pick for indoors, and of course, more watering and feeding to keep everything growing.
“Admiring our handiwork?” Jack asked, coming to stand beside Ianto, cup of coffee in hand.
“Why not? There’s a lot to admire, and besides, isn’t this why we built a garden up here, to have something pretty to look at?”
Jack nodded. “I suppose it is. That, and because you thought it would be good if we could grow some fresh fruit and vegetables.”
“It will be, but it’ll be a while before we get much of a crop; the fruit trees need to get established and we’ve barely started with the vegetable beds yet. Too much else needed doing first.”
“There’s no rush,” Jack pointed out. “We’ve got forever.”
“There’s that,” Ianto agreed with a smile. “Benefits of being immortal; we can wait as long as we have to.”
“We’ll have tomatoes and strawberries this year at the very least.”
“Tomatoes, yes. Strawberries, not if the pigeons get them first.”
“We’ll get the netting for the fruit cage today, Rift permitting. I’m looking forward to coming out here and picking fresh, sun-warmed strawberries for breakfast!”
“Mmmm, that’s a nice thought”
“In the meantime…” Jack gestured around them. “Look at this! So much colour and fragrance, it would brighten up the gloomiest day, never mind a sunny morning like this.”
Ianto grinned. “Yes it would.” He winked at Jack. “I’d even go so far as to say it’s blooming lovely!”