Thursday, 28 June 2012

Gardening - Love it or Hate it?

I used to think I was bad at gardening.  Just like I was bad a drawing.  But now I have realised that I'm not bad at gardening.  I just don't like it all that much.  Oh sure, I like the end result of a well tended, much loved garden that blooms at different times of the year and offers a multi-sensory experience treating the noise, the eyes the fingers.  I yearn for a perfect little English country cottage garden that I can meander through and ponder the state of the universe.  I long for perfect raised vegetable beds that will fill  our table and pantry the whole year round.

Instead I get weeds.  Relentless, immortal, soul destroying weeds.

Every spring I approach our garden with the optimism of a 5 year old on Christmas morning.  I draw plans with careful consideration for crop rotation.  I covet the photographs of dream gardens.  I buy seed packets and spend a packet at the local gardening centres on small, struggling stems.

But the optimism soon gives way to life.  A hot April is followed by a freezing May and anything I did then is frozen.

I start again with a heavier heart, holes in my gardening gloves and creaks in my knees. Once the freezing temperatures of spring have gone, May brings showers.  Not the kind of showers we should have had in April but monsoon showers that you should only have in a rainforest.  It rains for days.  The grass looks like a mud bath.

By the middle of June, despair sets in, I still haven't planted half my seed packets and most of my gardening tools have broken.  My potted herb garden has downed although the weeds don't seem to have minded and have taken over.  Half of one of my beautiful trees had died and I don't know if I should just let the dead part hang there because the other half looks really pretty.  The avids and other rapid insects are eating away at my pansies and my roses.

Gardening is not for the impatient.  I planted poppy seeds with visions of beautiful red poppies taking over the bed next to our driveway.  What I failed to appreciate was that poppies planted from seeds may take a few years to bloom.  I very nearly dug out the poppy plants that are growing thinking they were weeds.  Honestly, what is the point of plants that don't flower?

Gardening is not for those with control issues either.  Mother nature has a way of laughing at those of us with delusions of control.  It is this high pitched, migraine inducing laughter of wind, flood, drought all in the space of 2 weeks.

I try to appease her.  I've planted that endless cycle of annuals.  I religiously plant my hanging baskets and terracotta patio pots with pansies in the spring.  They are inevitably limp and bedraggled by August. Or the slugs have gotten to them and all that is left are the stems poking up out of the ground looking like Armageddon.

I've planted perennials that have never flowered and eventually been pulled up by errant gardeners who thought they were weeds.

My lawn is tortured by too much rain or too little rain.  Some weeks it doesn't grow at all and some weeks it grows enough for the entire summer.  My dog shits all over it and despite our daily poo patrol there is always one little turd that escapes my evil eye only to be found by my foot as I'm hanging up the laundry.

Oh, how I wish I liked gardening. I want to have a serene outdoor space where I can lie in my hammock smelling its abundance.  I will continue the struggle though because gardening to me is a bit like my golf game.

Everytime I play golf, I swear I am never going to play golf again.  Until, I make a perfect chip shot in for birdie.  I then approach the game with renewed commitment.

This year my garden has given me a birdie.  Our front rose bush is heavy with roses where it has always been insect ridden.  Our back rose (planted 5 years ago) has flowered for the first time ever (see photo above).  Our cherry tree produced its first cherry.  Our jasmine is finally blossoming.  Some days my hanging basket look stunning and some days they look like they are weeping but that is gonna be good enough for me.

Maybe I don't have to love gardening.  Maybe we can come to a compromise.  It will give me a few birdies and I will give it water when mother nature doesn't.


AM said...


Coupon Trunk said...

I don't particularly care for gardening, but I think I'm truly bad at it, too. Maybe I should just decorate with cheesy lawn ornaments.