Wednesday, 21 April 2010
What is a garden?
We've been having the most glorious weather here for the past week or so - warm and sunny, dry and just lovely to sit out in; thus, my garden has been on my mind a lot. Now, my idea of a "tidy" garden and others' ideas are often at odds, especially MrL's. Not for me the regimented lines of bought in flowers, square edges, everything pruned into submission and conventionally tidy. My garden is one of the main areas of my life where I get to express what I'm all about - and I'm going for it! There are beds of nettles, and plants that have seeded are generally left - often ones perceived by others as "weeds". Not so for me, the only one I can't genuinely think of a use for is couch grass..........These little plants are often the first to show when spring arrives - nature's indicators to get prepared and ready for a new growing season ahead. I find using a man-made calendar or advice in a book quite alien to me now, and watch the soil, the plants and the wildlife for natural indicators.
I am fortunate to have a big garden - some days not big enough, somtimes too big, but mostly just about right. A lot of people exclaim "OOhh you could be self-sufficient here if you just grew fruit and vegetables - why don't you do that?" Why not indeed? I'll tell you why not.
A garden devoid of flowers, of plants grown for their beauty only, of hiding and breeding places for creatures other than me - is a garden with no soul. Surely an inedible perennial poppy has its place as a provider of beuaty and charm that lifts the spirits and soul, just as much as four rows of carrots, or a greenhouse full of tomatoes can cater for the more perfunctory needs of a human.
Twelve years ago it is now since I started here, and it has now reached its balance- there are no pests to speak of (apart from the occasional trampling of the onion bed by a landing Muscovy duck lol), no diseases as such (blight twice only), lots of creatures out there, including a huge number of bees, not just my own.
It's a well-known adage that nature abhors a vacuum, so I let things be; the garden just gets on with it, and I find the least interference from me the better.
So, as a result, I have a very mixed garden - lots of trees, roses, self-seeding annuals, ponds, greenhouses, space for animals, lots of places to sit, and yes, some vegetable beds and the greenhouses - but seen as part of a holistic scheme in the garden, these things have their own innate beauty and dignity too, just as much as a highly prized shrub, or demanding rose bush.
These past few days, it has been absolutely full of birds and insects - the sounds are incredible, I take time to listen and to watch; without them, there would ultimately be no garden at all, so I am happy enough to share my crops with them and welcome them, and appreciate them for the great part they play in my garden - a greater part than any human ever could.
So - what is my garden?
It is my soul space, a haven, a place to sit and think, laugh and cry; a place for friends; a place for close inspection of nature; a place for introspection too; a giver of peace of mind; an exercise in humilty and hard work, appreciation and love.
If you have one, I hope you love your garden as I love mine.
Posted by MrsL at 08:04