I have been making the most of the good weather to get to the plot and figure things out. I went along with the boys yesterday to spend time outdoors and just take stock of what I actually wanted to do. I like flourishes of inspiration to come to me whilst I am standing there with a hot cup of coffee, listening to the birds.
I have really levelled my stress and anxiety and feel so charged to have been outside and figured out some type of plan. Sometimes gardening does become a little overwhelming when you rely on the seasons and the frosts and everything else. You don’t want to start too early or too late. You’ve dedicated yourself to this job… this mission.
Gardening gives you a lot of time to think, process and reflect. Everyone is having a difficult time at the moment but planting that seed is a promise to the future. I think that is why we are all so eager to get started so early. I’ve planned zinnias which are thriving on my windowsill in my bedroom and it just brings me so much joy, despite how much despair it’ll bring my husband if I don’t get my greenhouse sorted too.
Whilst gardening is so mindful, we have to also remember that we are project managers of that space that we invest our lives into. We have deadlines with nature and whilst we can sometimes plant things with the hope that they will hopefully exceed expectations, we learn from experience and by trial and error and we know our spaces better than anyone else could. However; our land sometimes surprises us when it brings us a self seeded plant or some beautiful new bee or butterfly you’ve never seen before. I had so much joy seeing leaf cutter bees settling at the back of the shed in the little house I made for them, jumping at frogs that would plop out from the nasturtium beds, the start to finish development of a ladybird – it’s such an amazing place.
Today, I returned on my own and managed to catch my friend Glynis there. It was so lovely to have a chat to someone and bounce my ideas off of them. Knowing something is achievable or a nice idea is just the sort of gratification I need. I have missed socialising so much so it’s so nice to see a friend who I normally see for several hours a day in summer. It’s a lovely reminder of what is to some and for the weather to be good enough to be there, it was a start.
I find that Winter is normally a difficult time. The reduced hours of sunlight. The total loss of Vitamin D from October. Once you become that outdoor person, I really do find that Winter becomes harder.
I’ve been working on making my allotment a bit more accessible for myself and to raise two of my beds. One I am working on now as it is clear and the other I will work on once the onions and the garlic are out. As long as it’s done by the winter then it’s fine. I have certain plants that I love because of their accessible heights. So today, I dug in a small pathway and planted a currant bush along it like I planned. Berating in mind I was a bit too generous with the cheese at Christmas and the gyms have been closed (my normal go-to in winter), I wasn’t exactly at my prime today. But that’s okay – I will get stronger as I go on and I will get fitter again. I have learnt just how much I appreciate my allotment as it is my gym – my exercise. Who cares if I have put on a little hibernation weight. We have been in lockdown and I need to be kind to myself. Normally, I would be hard hard hard that I have put on weight. It’s been cold, I am not quite as able as I used to be, the cold fucks with my sinuses now because of my surgeries, we have been in LOCKDOWN and not really allowed to go anywhere and I don’t want to go to my favourite places because they have been obviously swarmed with people but like me, they are looking for somewhere to go or something to do because they might be sick of the same four walls. I don’t blame them.
I have made the decision to the Ashridge Estate fora good long walk and to appreciate the showings of spring around me. I can’t wait. My son is back at nursery, I have a day off and this mama is going to use it well.
I hope that everyone is busy planning and scheming for their current gardening year. I am trying a few new things this year but also not doing others. I am finding out more and more each year, just what I love and what I use. That, my beautiful gardening friends, is the best journey of ever. The journey of self discovery and joy in life.