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Gardening Again – Rediscovering the Pleasure

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sweet peas illustrating an article about gardeningI am calling this post gardening – again because that’s what I wanted to be – for a long time.

You see, since we moved here in 2012 I have had a lot of setbacks.

Most of these to do with the leg bones I broke shortly after moving and the various complications that followed.

Last April I had more foot surgery which should have improved my walking immensely and it did – for about three weeks.

Then one morning I woke up with a swollen and painful foot.

X-rays confirmed the worst – the bone beside my operated bone had fractured – spontaneously!

I have had experience in gardening from a wheelchair and on crutches and found that working with pots and plants really helped.

But somehow this time I couldn’t get it together – the size of the task was the problem.

Unable to garden for most of the spring and summer meant that despite help from various ‘workaway’ visitors the garden was in danger of turning back into the wilderness it was when I started.

In fact, I was so disheartened after regaining my mobility and then losing it again that I could hardly look at my beloved garden.

When I finally forced myself to go outside I just felt totally overwhelmed.

There was so much to do and I couldn’t decide where to start.

When I did decide I found it hard to stop thinking about all the jobs that weren’t done and all the jobs that were coming up.

Before, the garden was a place where I worked until my bones ached and the light ran out.

Where had that woman gone?

Now I couldn’t focus on anything and I eventually gave up.

It wasn’t like me to give up and I didn’t like the fact that I had.

Then I started to realize that when you start thinking about the garden as a series of jobs it becomes just that – a to do list of jobs.

It had never felt like that before – gardening had been a pleasure.

I loved growing my own vegetables and had enjoyed preparing them and eating them.

I also enjoyed growing and drying my own herbs.

In fact, I grew enough mint to able to make and drink my own mint tea all year round – with the help of my dehydrator.

Then there was the flowers. I love them and growing them was a source of great pleasure.

Of course that’s the good bits.

In reality, gardening is not just hard work and in my case a massive rock problem, gardening is a to-do list that you never get to the end of. Ever.

But that’s the whole point and that’s what I had forgotten.

There is always something to do in the garden.

That is where the pleasure comes from and that pleasure is endless.

So, instead of looking at the whole garden I decided to pick one place that needs attention and work on that, without looking at the rest.

I started by deciding to give the garden just one hour and to do just one job.

overgrown sweet-peas in a flower bed illustrating an article about gardeningI started on a bed in the flower garden at the back of the house.

That particular bed had been taken over by some of the most rampant sweet pea plants I have ever had.

They were ones I had bought in a tray from a garden centre and were the only ones I haven’t raised myself from seed.

Those sweet peas had grown over the entire bed, completely swamping the other plants.

As they had got tall and stalky, the wind from the Atlantic ocean, just a mile down the road, had swung them around and whipped them down.

Now, they lay across the path, blocking it.

I decided I would take them out and clear the bed.

I started by removing the huge plants bit by bit.

The mess filled the wheel barrow several times and the roots were so thick and long I had to get M to come and help me dig them out.

Our little dog, Eppie, joined us in the garden but became obsessed with the two new Legbar hens M had brought home at the weekend.

small dog illustrating an article about gardeningShe was terrorizing the poor hens and so had to be imprisoned in the fenced in vegetable garden.

There’s plenty of space in there for her to play and she could still see us as we worked, but as you can see from this photo she was not pleased.

As we worked I began to see the little plants that had been covered by the mass of dead sweet pea plant.

Time fell away and I forgot about everything except saving those plants that the sweet peas had been light-starving for so long.

I was lucky with the weather too.

Yesterday was sunny here and overhead was a rare blue sky.

Even the birds were singing.

It is rare to have such weather on a January day in Galway and I could feel the heat on my face as I worked.

There’s nothing to beat working in the garden on a sunny day.

flower bed illustrating an article about gardeningThe pleasure of having my hands in the soil and dirt in my nails returned (it’s great fun getting dirty) and it was rewarding to finally see the back of that unruly mess of stalks and leaves.

I think the results were worth it and as for me – well I have a feeling I’ll be doing some more gardening soon – one bed at at a time.

Wish me luck!

Bye for now.

Grace

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