When you’re in your garden, do you feel peaceful? happy? at ease? inspired? possibly even invigorated? Or does being in, or thinking about, your garden bring up feelings of stress, anxiousness, guilt or avoidance for you?
These negative feelings can be caused by thinking that there’s so much to do that’s not getting done, or because you don’t like the way it looks- maybe it embarrasses you, or it simply doesn’t reflect your personality or sensibilities. I know at different times I’ve felt all of the above emotions in regard to my garden, though I’m lucky enough to have experienced the “good” emotions much more often because I’ve created an environment for myself that makes me happy on a very deep level.
Another reason I feel lucky is that I’ve had many opportunities to create such gratifying outdoor spaces for my clients. Since I only have one home (so far!) with a finite amount of garden, if my clients weren’t so accommodating, I would have to re-do my garden several times a year to be able to express this creative urge! So, because I’m one of the luckiest people in the world, I get to do what I LOVE- creating uniquely beautiful garden spaces for others- AND get paid for it! (Whoever thought of that was a genius.)
Getting some of these yummy good feelings from your own garden needn’t be a daunting task, if you don’t want it to be. Anything from reinventing your whole garden to carving out a small, secluded niche can deliver the goods. In fact, for many clients, I’ve drawn the garden of their dreams, to be ooh-ed and ahhh-ed and dreamed over until some future date when they could actually realize it. They’ve told me that even this- a drawing on a piece of paper- brought them a measure of peace and happiness.
We’re now coming into what I call the “Dregs of Summer” in the garden. Dregs being what’s left, or, the remnants of… In my experience, this last part of Summer is a tough time to keep things looking fresh in the garden, so I just don’t. I usually put in about as much effort as I do during the rest of the summer (aside from a mid-summer refreshing) and so the result is that about now things will start to get a bit leggy, a bit blown out, or just pain tired. I’m ok with that. I like seeing the different seasons in the garden. On the temperate Coast here, the seasons are stingy with their changes, and the ones we do get are subtle. I try to pay attention to the rhythm of the garden and I don’t try too hard to force things into looking permanently like it’s late Spring or early Summer. (prime-time around here)
August in the garden
I trim things back if they’re in the way (of me or other plants), I keep up with my watering & weeding and I continue to harvest the food we’re growing. Aside from that, I also do a lot of thinking about what to do next- what changes I want to make in the layout of my garden for next year, what plants will need replacing, which ones I want to plant more of or try for the first time, etc. Mostly what I do, though, is wait for the sun to appear so I can go out and enjoy it! As garden seasons go, it’s one of the more relaxing ones.
Hi, I’m a sweet little weed! I’m earnestly growing toward the sun so I can get big and strong! When I’m bigger I’ll flower and then make seeds to ensure the survival of my species! Look at how green and healthy I am! Wait…. what’s this giant hand coming at me for?? It’s pulling me!! I’m hanging on for dear life with my little roots…. but dammit, I feel them breaking away…. nooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!
This past Spring I spread my home-made compost all over my garden and after about three weeks, the soil was thick with tomato seedlings. I then made a mental note to not put tomato seeds into my kitchen waste container. I guess my compost doesn’t get hot enough to kill them, but I’m ok with that… For every 100 tomato seedlings, there appeared one zucchini seedling. “How sweet!”, I thought. “How useful!”, I thought next. I took three of the more robust specimens and planted them on a little hill, watered them lots, and waited. While I was away on vacation, my husband sent me pictures of the garden and THIS is what the “zucchini” looks like! Hmmm… I was fooled. I think it’s baby acorn squash. Can anyone confirm this? (We ate some of them green and they were creamy and delicious!)
For ten months of the year, I’m waiting for this patch of my front garden to look like THIS. After it peaks (July/Aug) it looks a bit bedraggled for about 3 months (Sept/Oct/Nov), before I cut it back. Then I have about three months of trimmed back tidiness (Dec/Jan/Feb) before it starts to ramp up for the year. During this time of growth (Mar/April/May/June) I weed a lot and watch every new leaf and bud with excitement. You might be thinking, “That’s a lot of work and waiting for such a small reward” (or something like that!), but to me, it’s totally worth it. It’s like Lilacs, most of the year they’re either sticks or green bushes, but oh my god, when they’re in bloom, as brief as it is, don’t you just want to smash your face (gently…) into them?? Well, I do and I love my little postage stamp-sized patch of Olea,Lavender, Teuchrium, Thyme and Cerastium (Snow-in-Summer) just as much!
Someone near and dear to me just moved into a new house. I was so completely appalled by the “Landscaping” (obviously I’m using the very loosest sense of the word) that I had to document the mess. I don’t want to ruin your whole day, so I’m just going to show you one picture.
So many issues, so little space… I have no more words.