A departure from early modern history this post. In most of my social networking ‘blurbs’ I mention that one of my interests in gardening so here are some rambling thoughts on the subject. The high point of what has been a difficult week has been that I’ve been able to fit in some gardening. Happily the back garden has now gone from a post-winter scene of leaf strewn apocalypse to an early spring blank canvas of optimism. I’m guilty of having put absolutely no effort into the garden over winter, I probably only opened the door once and that was to repair a burst outdoor water pipe during the ‘big freeze’. Only the coming months growth will tell the consequences of this laziness, but my general garden philosophy would suggest that it will not be too disastrous.
The main consequence so far has been a full two and a half days of tidying, bundling, sweeping, trimming and digging. Given that mine is a modest plot this is saying something. In between scrabbling around in the mouldering leaves I did manage to fit in building a long overdue third raised vegetable bed.
This will be for courgettes, of which I aim to drown in this year having had two years of abject zucchini failure.
Most thrillingly I have today reclaimed my patio and I am siting out here writing this blog article, with a steaming cup of coffee admiring the fruits of my effort, which to be fair at the moment is mostly turned over soil.
By about mid-January the winter claustrophobia has firmly set in, so by the end of March getting back that extra outdoor ‘room’ is essential. This is particularly true as I spend most of my days in offices and meeting rooms. So to get home, or to wake up on a Saturday morning, and spend time outdoors is the definition of bliss. Thats why I have a garden, as an excuse to be outside, something to watch and tinker with absent-mindedly over the next six months of Spring and Summer.
So this brings me to my philosophy on gardening. I think that everyone should have a chance to have a garden or at least some plot of land to call their own. Gardens reveal an awful lot about a person; in the choices that are made, the planning, the degree of patience, the imagination.Thinking about it I might add that to my next round of interviews; “Right, were done with the questions, now lets pop and have a look at your garden”, beats psychometric testing anyway.
My own garden reveals all sorts about me, mostly a complete inability to plan anything. Months of meticulous garden design and scientific rotation of crops is not a hallmark of my horticultural approach. Instead, months of occasional ideas and then last-minute trips to garden centres for seeds on Easter weekend is usually closer to the truth. I love preparing the soil and planting but maintenance to any high technical degree does not figure high on my list of priorities. Most of my effort goes into planting vegetables (this year courgettes, peas, tomatoes, potatoes and parsnips) and if they survive, they survive. Here are some examples of todays gardening “masterclass”:
I think a neat, precise garden would only stress me out. No, I like my garden a little rough round the edges, a little bit for me, a little bit for nature. Also, if proof were needed that gardens don’t need too much effort to grow have a look at my bird-feeder: