Thursday, March 30, 2017

My love of gardening and finding ways to manage it

􏰊􏰃􏰈􏰄􏰋􏰂􏰍􏰐􏰆􏰑􏰄􏰆􏰎􏰄􏰉􏰈􏰂􏰆􏰟􏰈􏰉􏰖􏰄􏰐􏰌􏰄􏰃􏰈􏰉􏰆􏰐􏰂􏰸􏰄􏰐􏰍􏰄􏰈􏰑􏰂􏰆􏰔􏰏􏰁􏰌􏰌􏰈􏰌􏰄􏰆􏰟􏰈􏰉􏰂􏰆􏰔􏰐􏰑􏰒􏰄􏰔􏰁􏰮􏰆􏰉􏰄􏰆􏰕􏰌􏰍... the fiction of recovery is heroic; it encompasses overcoming major obstacles, as if I was to be slaying dragons or climbing and conquering freezing mountainous terrain.

Helen Kendall - Shelf Life

It is raining again. 
The glorious sun of the past few days has gone to a different shore.
I am sure it will return again soon.

In those glory days I reacquainted myself with my garden, and had some wonderful peaceful moments resting in my greenhouse.
I must admit that not one seed have been planted there yet. Just me. Just me and Sally Cat have been 'planted' so far.

This year my aim is to make my garden even easier to maintain. And share the work in my small greenhouse.

Since I moved to this house in 2008 I have been creating my garden. All there was was gravel, knee high weeds and one wild marjoram plant. 
Over the years (with help) I made a variety of flowerbeds, well actually most of them were vegetables beds at the start, and paths. Planted apple trees, herbs, shrubs, and I also had a very small pond. But all needed work. All needed more from me than I was able to give. I needed to ask for help all the time. That is fine to create the garden, but not in terms of maintaining it.

The past few years there were too many days when I would sit in the garden and all I could see where the jobs that needed to be done. It was frustrating. I could not see, or enjoy the beauty of my garden. The parts that are so healing. All I could see were 'jobs'. Weeds. Overgrown paths. Bushes that needed to be cut back. Pond to be cleaned. Vegetables to attend to...

At times I'd be in tears. 
Tears of exhaustion from doing too much.
Tears from frustrations that I could do no more.

I remember one day when I was in that state when a friend stopped by. 
She said the "wrong" word to me.
The word Brave.

I didn't want to be called brave
I hated that word.

That word was uttered to me previously.
I remember one fellow artist at Annaghmakerrig telling me this too, when she walked me back to my cottage, as I had pretty much 'collapsed' from exhaustion during a shared dinner.

It sounded like pity 

And I know one thing, I do not do very well with pity.

My friend, during that chat in my garden said, "I don't mean pity, I mean: You are amazing. You just do it, get on with it, don't give up, and don’t give in."􏰹􏰆􏰙􏰄􏰋􏰑􏰛􏰄􏰁􏰄􏰇􏰁􏰖􏰝􏰺

So I looked up the word Brave in the dictionary 
(I have a habit of consulting the dictionary to understand my world)

ready to face and endure danger or pain, showing courage 
comes from the Latin word cor meaning heart

I do face up with an open heart to the experience of illness

If I can open my mind to that explanation, than maybe, maybe,
I can reconsider myself brave 

Back garden in Spring

... This post took an unexpected detour- but I am going to leave this interlude in ...

So, back to my garden - or maybe we were still there.

For the past few years when my health was a little more compromised again, I decided to do away with the pond (as it needed yearly cleaning). And I had friends come over to dig up a lot of the plants for their newly established garden.
... by the way that is a VERY successful way to garden ... Invite friends who like some plants - You get rid of plants, by simply pointing at them. You're happy. The garden is happy. And friends are happy.

Every year in spring I look at what causes me too much work in the garden. What I can cope with, and what I absolutely do not want to get rid of. Some plants are just too valuable for my well being to let go of. They might attract birds, or bees and butterflies. They might bring that splash of colour I can not do without. Or give of a scent I would not swap for anything.

In the last week I made good progress with weeding a few of the small flowerbeds leading from my kitchen to my studio (11 steps). I sit on my crate, so I don't have to kneel down, and shuffle with it along the path. It works!

I have decided to do away with the strawberry bed. The ornamental grasses, which used to grow in that spot, are just not giving up on growing in between them. So I will let them be! One less job to look at. Maybe strawberries in my greenhouse- hanging baskets...
The herb garden is easy to weed, and too valuable.
I did have help tie back the rosemary bush. What a gorgeous smell when we were chopping and repositioning.

In autumn I had help with cutting back shrubs that started to take over my garden. I must say that in the beginning I missed them, but now all I see it the glorious space they left in their wake.
So... really, there is not that much to do this year. 
(famous last words).

In terms of the greenhouse, 
well, I will seed some lettuce, beans, tomatoes. Again every year I do less, but grow what I absolutely love. There is nothing better that walk into the greenhouse and pick a few small leaves of lettuce, or much later in the year, to pick a ripe cherry tomato of the plant. No shop bought will ever equal the taste
And, I have invited friends to share the growing with me. They help me with planting and re-potting, and we share the bounty from what grows.

Back to the Brave issue.
Yes, I do find ways.
But if that qualifies as brave
I make do and leave as much time and energy for the things I love.
Resting in the greenhouse and watching the birds and the bees and butterflies, and the daily growth of plants.
The healing aspects of Nature!

greenhouse when it was just build
inside greenhouse last year

escaping tomatoes

Links and further reading.

  • top quote and exploring the word Brave came from Into the Light book
  • other photos of my garden
  • Explore other Garden related post here  (search option)

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