Caught in the ‘in between’ week, this year, with just days to spare, and a whole new year set to take its place. It isn’t difficult to begin navel gazing and thinking about how next year is going to be so much better and how I’ll do things differently. But at the same time I’m not all that keen for a fresh start as I am still half way through my growing season and despite how horribly it started I’m not in a hurry to wish it away and give up on it. Even if navel gazing is much easier lying on a beach in a bikini, far removed from the garden.
Fortunately this summer we are taking a series of mini breaks, allowing me to sneak back into the garden every few days to tend to its whims and avoid the usual overgrown tangled nightmare, before heading off on the next exciting trip. This works out so well for me, as overgrown and over ripe is not what you want to return home to after ten days pining for the garden between fishing trips with no fish caught, swimming in the warm clear sea or raising a glass with friends in the warm night air before crawling into a mosquito filled tent and onto an airbed with a slow leak. Oh the joys of summer holidays!
This year I can redirect wayward cucumber tendrils while they are still flexible, before they crawl across the grass in a solid determination. I can weed regularly, making sure no seed heads reach maturity and spread their villainy across my patch in my absence. I can harvest regularly and have been able to harvest at least twenty perfectly sized zucchini, not come home to twenty marrows! The peas are also being harvested frequently enough to keep them going before the incessant summer heat finishes them off and the freezer is filling up with bags of little green orbs that will last well into the winter months. The first red tomato, stolen by the birds will hopefully be the only red tomato stolen by the birds without my constant presence in the garden as I was able to put up a range of deterrents. And much to my relief the garden is well hydrated.
But looking to the New Year, however ill-timed it is for a gardener down under, is something my mind seems to wander to. While I am in the garden I can easily conjure up a list of things that need doing, mostly short term chores and projects:
- Now the rainy spring is behind us and in anticipation of a dry summer (one can only hope) I must complete my irrigation system. I’m nearly there.
- I need to sort out the long grass in the orchard – no idea how at this point.
- I want to build a fence – not around the whole garden – just on the sides where expansion is no longer possible.
- I need to build a proper compost system – a wonderful three bin one I have been dreaming about for so long.
- The greenhouse could do with a bit of a clean-up, and so could the shed.
- There is so much pickling and preserving to do, nothing should go to waste.
- The lavender around the deck needs deadheading because it is beginning to flower again. I didn’t know it would do that, such a lovely surprize.
- The grounds beyond the garden need a bit of TLC. I must find time for this too.
- Passionfruit. I will leave it at this as reminder to myself, but won’t delve deeper into this chore lest I shame myself.
- Put away the outside shelving used for hardening off as this no longer has a use until next spring and it is impossible to mow around.
See look at that – ten easy to find tasks to do in the garden in the New Year. I could go on as this is the kind of list that has an ebb and flow and is never ending. Once one thing is achieved, then somehow another two things have taken its place with varying degrees of urgency.
However, away from the garden and removed from the pressing needs of what to do next, it is easier to think of the bigger picture. Where am I with my lifestyle? Are we going where we want to be? And what more needs to be done? These are the ponderings that alter the course of the journey we are on. Having this break in the middle of the horticultural obsessiveness allows me to stop and look backwards and forwards to make sure not only am I going in a straight line and not veering off, but also am I also on the right track. Even more importantly, is this still where I want to go…
These are deeper questions and the answers don’t come as easily as a ‘to do’ list This is the kind of philosophical pondering that requires a bit more thought – over a few glasses of elderflower champagne I think. The year still has a few days for me to mull this over and then convince the family my new year’s resolutions are far superior to any they could come up with so they should jump on board and be more like me…
Come again soon, a new start is coming in the middle of what I already have going on. It will be magnificent. Or we may stay the same, in which case it will be fabulous.
Sarah the Gardener : o )