Normally at this time of year we look back over the previous twelve months and wax lyrical about the mundane goings in the garden, reminisce over the ordinary and set goals along the lines of ‘must keep on top of the weeds this year.’ Life in a garden has seasons and once you get the hang of things it can become a bit of a routine. It is still exciting to see the first seedling emerge in spring and the first blush of red in the tomato patch, but at the end of the day, the pea season comes, and the pea season goes, the onions get pulled out and the space they occupied is quickly filled with something else, and strawberries don’t last forever.
Don’t get me wrong, the garden is always a place of great excitement – the anticipation finding out what that new variety actually tastes like after months of waiting, greeting an old favourite like a long-lost friend and cracking into a large juicy watermelon can only be done with a huge grin on your face! The things I control in the garden bring me great joy. Just being in the garden gives a sense of peace, contentment and accomplishment.
However, it is the things you can’t control that can give the greatest frustration. Namely the weather. We certainly had our fair share of rain this year. Oh, my goodness. It taught me how to have patience as I waited between downpours for the soil to dry out. But there is always a silver lining and although on the surface the ground now looks parched, dry and cracked, deep down there is a good solid moist soil and the plants seem to have sent their roots down into it and despite the baking heat, they are thriving. Nothing in nature is wasted and even a wet winter can become a blessing.
I have to confess to being a bit of a creature of habit. I like things just so… well in the garden – elsewhere is a bit chaotic, but I’m working on that, or more accurately Hubby the Un-Gardener is helping me work on that as we sort through 10 years of stuff and try to eliminate anything with the designation “I might need that one day.” Having said that I bet I will need it one day…. But in the garden, once I find a system that works well for me, I tend to keep it that way. Over the last decade the garden has been refined and fine-tuned, and it is really only the vagaries of the season, the whims of the weather and the populations of pest and disease that spice things up in the garden. Pop ups on my calendar remind me when to do things, my crop rotation is pretty much set in stone and at the end of the season everything just moves a bed to the right. I have my favourite things I like to grow and have long since cast aside the weird and interesting as they were too weird and too interesting, and we never ate them and often didn’t actually like them.
Each season, each bed was starting to look like it did the previous year in the neighbouring bed. I used to be like that with the Christmas tree. The silvery tinsel always went on the bottom like a layer of snow, the robin ornament went near the top, so he could look out over the room, the tinkly noisy chime one could go near the bottom by the door, so the breeze could catch it and sound festive…. But then I noticed looking back over the photos was the only thing that had changed was the kids standing in front of it were slightly taller. Now I get the kids to do it and then I go in and move a few things to balance it out. The garden, while still extremely challenging and rewarding was starting to feel like the tree. Only I didn’t realise it.
In the time I have had to reflect on the garden over the last two months, I have come to realise I was in need of a new challenge. Something that would throw me in over my head and terrify and excite me at the same time. I love my creature comforts and would have been happy to potter about in the garden for the rest of my days, it is the difference between a Ferris wheel and a roller coaster at the fairground. Both are fun, just in different way.
As I started out on 2017 I would never have picked how it would ended and if you told me I’d be giving up my beloved garden I would call you a liar. But having come to terms with the reality of it all, I am ready to move on, leaving the garden in the care of others and excited for what this new year will bring. It is almost impossible to make New Years resolutions as it is impossible to know exactly how it will be. So, all I can really put on my goal list is ‘to bring it on’. 2018 I am ready for what ever challenge you throw at me.
Come again soon – the new garden in the new place is the perfect start to a new year!
Sarah the Gardener : o)