Fighting the Garden Demons

How can anyone enjoy gardening at this time of year? It’s warm, sweaty, and there are more weeds popping up than vegetables. Slugs are slithering all over your dahlias, and blackfly have set up lookout posts on your cherry tree. Easy, I love gardening.

Yes, it’s hard work. Yes, there aren’t enough days in the week to get up to the allotment. And yes, your flowers and vegetables never resemble the ones in the glossy magazines. But that’s because we live in the real world, and in the real world, life can get in the way.

So we do what we can. Steal a half hour here, tweet a gardening query there, and on Friday nights we all sit-down and tune in for our weekly fix of garden porn on BBC2, watching Monty and his crew work up a sweat as they sow, till, and reveal their ripe harvests… filthy beggars, the lot of them.

At the start of the year, I made a conscious decision to try and take my gardening to the next level. And to be honest, so far it’s been a mixed bag. In the last few weeks, I’ve been so fixated on keeping both the garden and allotment looking their best, that I’ve forgotten to do the one thing I love: being still, and breathing it all in.

In my day to day life, I’m desperate to unchain those shackles and get my hands in the soil. But my time is so limited, that when I am set free, my head goes down and I’m racing against the clock to get everything done. At times, when I’m working in the hustle and bustle of the city, and not able to garden, there are moments of darkness. Sometimes, it feels like a panic attack. “If I’m not working the land, then how can I call myself a gardener?” I’m not one to feel sorry for myself, but whoever thought seven days in a week would be enough, was clearly not a gardener!

However, the flowers are blooming, my vegetables are growing, so I must be doing something right. Sometimes, I just need to let go of the reins a little, and have faith in Mother Nature. And when I do have an hour to spend in the garden or up at the plot,  I should seize the moment more, appreciate it, enjoy it and let everything else be.

Let’s see what this week brings… 

 

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14 thoughts on “Fighting the Garden Demons

  1. Isn’t this the best time of the year for gardening? It has not even gotten to a hundred degrees here yet, and barely up to ninety degrees. The weather is pleasant and dry. Our weeds wear themselves out pretty soon. Those that get cut will not come back later in summer. If we do not keep up with the garden chores, it gets overwhelming later.

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      1. California is known as the ‘Golden State’ not because of the abundance of gold in the Sierra Nevade, or because of the golden California poppy, but because the native grasses in the Coastal Ranges are only green in spring, and then golden longer than they are green.

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  2. I got too hot deadheading and weeding yesterday, and did have a brief moment of berating myself. But then I did think this is the time of year to really sit back and immerse yourself in what you have achieved. In March I am just longing for this moment. So the weeds are creeping in at the back fence and I could have tied the clematis in more artfully (rather than grabbing a tangled handful and wrestling them to the fence). There are worse crimes, aren’t there?

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  3. I so admire all of you who have allotments and can only spend an hour or two on a weekend, yet somehow your plots produce well, and often look beautiful. Now that I’m retired, I can spend hours a day in my potager. It looks perfect most of the time, but it doesn’t really produce pounds more than it would with a few weeds here or there. I often wonder how allotment plants manage without timely watering and harvesting. Hats off to you…and DO take time to truly enjoy all you’ve created!

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  4. A relevant post on so many issues, not just gardening. As I have grown older, I have become a big fan of “good enough.” Simple meals? Good enough. Simple housekeeping? Good enough. And a garden that looks pretty darned good, as your garden does, is definitely good enough.

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  5. It’s been a very tricky year for starting produce off with snow, heat, rain and slugs all halting progress. Shouldn’t we declare May a national (paid!) holiday for gardeners so we can get on top of things? Your plot is looking jolly good despite a lack of time, Ade.

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