Sunday, 4 March 2012

Day 105 - Does gardening make your heart sing..or sink?

I've just stayed with a great friend who loves looking at her garden, but that's as far as it goes; she would rather sit through a beginners recorder lesson than spend five minutes in a flowerbed....
It's a case of look but don't touch. (Unless she absolutely has to)

And gardening isn't for everyone.  For some it's a real chore.  A duty not a pleasure. Get it done and move on.  Or just avoid having a garden at all. 
But for others like me it's a complete joy. Not just a rewarding hobby but some welcome homegrown therapy.
I haven't always felt like that about it.  When we first got here I hadn't a clue!  We moved from a flat with a few pots on a balcony to an out of control jungle.  
The previous owner had green fingers and a serious plant addiction - there were flowerbeds and shrubs everywhere.  It was overwhelming.  The only weeds I could spot with any confidence were nettles and brambles; the rest was a bit of a lottery - they all looked the blinking same!
Our first foray into the undergrowth was like a journey of discovery.  We found lovely stone walls under some ivy and a cherry tree completely hidden from view by a forest of brambles.  
This was the good bit - what to do with the plants and flower beds we uncovered was more testing.  
Is there a right and wrong time to prune? When should you put mulch down? WHAT IS MULCH? I had so many questions, but gardening started getting under my skin.  
When the children were tiny and he was away, I found getting out and digging or chopping made me feel better.  It was an escape from the monotonous routine and something I could do as I was tied to the house.  In a weird kind of way this solitary pastime helped me deal with the loneliness of those baby years. It helped a lot more than going to a toddler group and talking about kids for two hours! That just did my head in.

I became a more easy-going gardener when it clicked that you never stop learning.  So I still plant things in the wrong place and get a bit over enthusiastic with the shears, but that's all right.  Things can be moved and even the shrubs pruned to within an inch of their lives seem to keep on growing....

I find this cycle of life comforting, but for my gardening-phobic friend it's proof that it's a thankless task: hard graft, a bit of a break, then back to the start again!  
She thinks I'm mad and I think she's missing out.

Gardening has almost made me patient.  Having to wait for the garden to burst back into life makes me appreciate it more when it does.  Also after a year, I've usually forgotten where I planted new bulbs and plants so I'm like an excited child when they start appearing.

Early spring is such a hopeful time. Going round today and seeing little green shoots pushing up through the soil lifts my spirits, and makes me think how lovely the garden will look when he gets back for his first break next month.



  1. I think the patience part is where I go wrong...I don't have much let alone in spades!! It also builds huge upper body strength without the gymn so I'm told..that'll come in handy when you have to carry all hubby's kit in when he gets home!! Love those pictures... Spring has sprung x

  2. When I met my husband he confessed he hated gardening and it was why he had bought a flat ! As he was moving in with me and this house has a back garden and then a very large front garden he warned me that gardening wasn't his thing.
    Fast forward several years and we now have an allotment that he LOVES to get to and is REALLY enjoying. He even say's now how nice it is to get outside and be doing something earthy and manual in the fresh air (he's an office boy lol).
    He now just laughs when I recall to him what he used to say and say's he must just be getting on a bit these days ! How rude, I'm the same age as him haha.
    I'm not great at gardening but i LOVE it none the less :-)
    Lovely pics btw x

  3. Your garden looks beautiful.
    I admit I'm one of those who is not much into it. I can see why it's therapeutic, and I do enjoy it sometimes for that reason, but the problem is having to do it consistently, every week!
    Neither I nor my husband have been good at keeping that up.

  4. Thank you Jackie. Have to say this is the lull before the storm. It all gets a bit out of control when things really start growing!