I appreciate the misunderstanding I have had with Nature over my perennial border. I think it is a flower garden; she thinks it is a meadow lacking grass, and tries to correct the error.
Sara Stein, My Weeds, 1988
I love looking at gardens. I appreciate the work that goes into keeping them looking so beautiful. But I don’t have the inclination to carry out that work.
Here in Wellington we have The Wellington Botanic Garden It covers 25 hectares of land on the side of the hill near the central city. One of the real attractions is the Lady Norwood Rose Garden, with more than 300 rose varieties in 106 formal beds.
This open space is a particularly peaceful place to withdraw to as it is within 2 kilometers of the thriving commercial hub of the city.
On my walks around our suburb with Lotte my Tibetan Spaniel, I see the results of many hours of patient work in gardens. I have had large, well-tended gardens in the past, but the tending was done by others. I have lived in an apartment with a large terrace filled with pots and plants. These I tended. And now I have a very small patch in an inner city suburb that requires tending by me. Today was a day for mowing the lawn – all 4 sq meters of it (well I don’t know how big it is but it certainly isn’t any bigger). Now all I can think of is that old children’s song ‘One Man Went to Mow’
Preparation time approx 10 minutes
- Find key to outside cupboard
- Remove tools and paraphernalia to allow access to Flymo
- Find power cord for outside use
- Connect cord to Flymo now we are ready.
Mow lawn – time approx 10 minutes (because of the heat and the rain over the past week the grass was much longer this time and consequently took more than the usual 5 minutes to cut)
Tidying up – time approx 30 minutes
- Rake grass and put into bag for disposal (no room for a compost heap here)
- Unplug Flymo and return to outside cupboard
- Replace all other paraphernalia
- Lock cupboard and return key to its rightful place
- Return power cord to its rightful place
- Pour a cup of coffee and relax knowing that it will all have to be done again in a week’s time.
As you can see it takes longer to begin and to finish than it does to actually mow the grass. A suggestion has been made that I turn this absolutely tiny area into a patio with paving and lots of pots (of which I have plenty). Meantime, until the decision is made mowing is what I do.
And now the weeding – but first, another cup of coffee. And I just know that Mother Nature thinks my tiny herbaceous border is really a meadow. Why else would there be such a proliferation of weeds. Doesn’t matter how often I tell myself weeds are only flowers in the wrong place.
Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity. Lindley Karstens,
OK, that’s done but need another cup of coffee before I start on the back patio.
It’s an ongoing task – the leaves fall from the plane tree and I sweep them up; the next day they are all back.
Is there a family of squirrels who live in that tree and delight in watching me sweep leaves? Well, I hope they enjoy it for I most certainly do not. But what did I say about gratitude? So I am grateful that I have a courtyard to sweep and can provide a home for these squirrels so close to town.
And now armed with another cup of coffee I am ready to take my book into my newly tidied garden and relax for the afternoon. Having said that I certainly agree with the sentiments expressed :
Science, or para-science, tells us that geraniums bloom better if they are spoken to. But a kind word every now and then is really quite enough. Too much attention, like too much feeding, and weeding and hoeing, inhibits and embarrasses them. ~Victoria Glendinning – (The Hon. Victoria Glendinning, CBE British biographer, critic, broadcaster and novelist. 1937 –