Before I started gardening, I thought I was fulfilled.
However, my Experiments with Plants directly and indirectly filled voids that I hadn't even recognised, lifting my happiness to a higher level.
This is a blog about a garden near London, England, and how it is changing my approach to life.
Friday, 18 February 2011
Crocus (18 FEB 2011)
Last spring I saw drifts of crocuses amongst grass left to grow long at the edge of a local park. I fancied recreating the scene in my own garden, so in November I stood on the lawn, threw two handfuls of clothes pegs in the air and planted bulbs where they fell. This is the first crocus bloom which battled with the weeds to make an appearance.
In fact, my entire approach to gardening is fanciful and I wouldn't wish it any other way .....
If I was relying on my plants to feed my family, would I chuckle to myself when I discover yet another broccoli decimated by my garden friends - leaving me just one and a half nice ones ? The hellebores sheltering slugs and snails would have to be dug up and the broken birdbath which welcomes pigeons into my garden replaced by a scarecrow.
I never intended to be an organic gardener, I'm afraid there isn't a strong conviction underlying this decision. It's simply that I personally don't take medicines unless I'm forced to and I apply the same principle to introducing chemicals to my garden. However, if I entered vegetable-growing competitions as a hobby, would I maintain an organic regime if it meant sacrificing the opportunity to grow perfect specimens required to win a gold medal and all the prestige that goes with it ?
Confucius said : “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
.... but if I gave up my office job to pursue my new passion and breed plants in the fresh air as a 9-to-5 occupation, would my enthusiasm keep me buoyant if profits were low and my mortgage payments pending ? Isn't there something to be said for keeping business & pleasure well separated ?
If I had a display garden, would my random colour schemes and carefree attitude to garden planning create a spectacle fit for public viewing ? I don't think the "I'm going to plant it here because I want to" strategy would work somehow. Even if I was just keeping up with the Joness, would it be worth my while to research my weeds as closely as my other garden plants, when I could be persevering with the never-ending task of deweeding my patios ?
It would be true to say that my gardening lacks substance, but the resulting pleasure, peace of mind, connection with higher (& lower) forces has had such a profound effect on me, how I deal with problems, the way I view the world and the future, and my relationships. Before I used to be concerned about what people thought of how I looked or the way I dressed, but I don't care any more because my garden is beautiful (even if it is mostly bare soil at the moment). I used to wonder when others would accept me for what I am, but these days it seems easier to convince them to understand my point of view - and that's substantial.