In my garden there is a large place for sentiment. My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams. The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful.
Abram L Urban
My garden is not huge but it wraps itself around the cottage and there is more than enough for me to cope with, I am so lucky to have the mountain stream flowing through it and the beautiful views. I have taken photos before for the blog but I shall try to take some more this week.
The growing season is short in this upland area of Wales and certain plants just will not grow and those that do are way behind those at lower altitudes. You soon learn what keels over at this altitude in this acid soil and what thrives I am a bit of a fair weather gardener which probably explains why I am writing today about the joys of gardening. We have had so many weeks of real summer for a change.
Shall I list these joys? There are many.
To start with working with the soil ‘earths’ me which does me the world of good as I live too much in my head most of the time. I love the feel of earth in my hands and the smell of it too. Although I have to wear gardening gloves there are some jobs that I just can’t do properly with gloves on. Transplanting seedlings for example, or potting on.
There is the solitude too which I just have to have at times and I enjoy my own company very much but I am not always completely alone, I am joined sometimes by M who helps out with certain tasks. I am accompanied at times by a dog or two or a cat and always surrounded by birds; some watch from a distance, some are braver like the robins and the blackbirds who watch patiently in case some tasty morsel is turned over and laid out at their feet, (Do birds have feet?). I am watched by squirrels and sometimes spied on by birds of prey like the red kites who swoop above me. There are more bees this year which is good news and always butterflies around me. Sometimes there are sheep in the field across the river and they will stand and watch my movements from afar. I wonder what they are thinking. Perhaps they wonder what I am thinking,
Tending a garden is similar to the practice of meditation because I concentrate fully on the task in hand and become totally absorbed within it. I am happy and purposeful and the garden seems to be the only place where I can put aside, if only for a while, any worries that I may have. It is rewarding when a job is done, a ‘corner’ or a bed sorted and improved, an area cleared of weeds brings much satisfaction and reward for much hard work. And it is ongoing as plants GROW (usually). Weeds GROW too but I have learned to enjoy, well perhaps enjoy is not the right word; endure perhaps, the chore that is weeding. My thoughts wander and I often find inspiration while I am doing it.
Gardening is physically exhausting sometimes and I have to limit myself in case I overdo things but at least it beats going to a gym and it is so lovely to be out in the pure fresh Welsh mountain air. The best advice I can give is to take it in small doses and set a time limit - stop when you are still wanting more and then there is the next day to look forward to. A bit like writing I guess.
Yesterday I gardened in soft rainfall - West Cork weather I call it - which suits me well. It was warm but with the softest of rain, real Irish weather, rain that started off more like a mist but soon became the sort that quickly makes you wet through without you realising. But for me it beat the sweltering heat any day, I was so happy.
Gardening presents challenges which for me, being an Aries, I relish. However, being an Aries my enthusiasm is apt to wane before the job is finished. I must try harder…. It is an inexpensive hobby if I restrict myself when I go to garden centres (very hard) and if I wanted to I could grow a lot of my own food…perhaps one day.
Just lately I have begun to see the garden as somewhere I can be creative rather than just somewhere to sweep, cut back, weed and tidy. This is quite exciting. Just recently our phone line was down and I could not go on the net for a week - I turned to the garden as the weather was so inviting. I realised that my life had become out of balance because I was spending too much time indoors looking at a computer screen, both at work and at home. I have had a few days off work and am just starting to feel rested. Pottering is one of my passions and I have been concentrating on practising this one a lot.
Well I must sign off now. The garden is quite tidy but the cottage needs a clean. Not today though, I am not in housework mode (or cooking!). Maybe it will rain soon. I found this quote recently, it is so true.
God made rainy days so gardeners could get the housework done. ~Author Unknown
I must leave you with a poem.
My dear cat Molly roams among the roses - she’s not black but is pure white - but I still loved the poem by Amy Lowell. I hope you like it too.
A Black Cat Among Roses
A black cat among roses,
Phlox, lilac-misted under a first-quarter moon,
The sweet smells of heliotrope and night-scented stock.
The garden is very still,
It is dazed with moonlight,
Contented with perfume,
Dreaming the opium dreams of its folded poppies.
Firefly lights open and vanish
High as the tip buds of the golden glow
Low as the sweet alyssum flowers at my feet.
Moon-shimmer on leaves and trellises,
Moon-spikes shafting through the snowball bush.
Only the little faces of the ladies' delight are alert and staring,
Only the cat, padding between the roses,
Shakes a branch and breaks the chequered pattern
As water is broken by the falling of a leaf.
Then you come,
And you are quiet like the garden,
And white like the alyssum flowers,
And beautiful as the silent sparks of the fireflies.
Ah, Beloved, do you see those orange lilies?
They knew my mother,
But who belonging to me will they know
When I am gone.
Bye for now,