Here I am on the doorstep of yet another season and I wonder, where does the time go? Sometimes I think it would be nice to have hobby that wasn’t so time stamped, as the passing of the seasons is so entwined with the happenings in the garden.
For a non-gardener, the crossing of August into September is just another ordinary day – no different from the day before or the day after. It is still cold and more than likely will burst into rain. For a gardener, this is the most important dawn in the entire year – almost more important than birthdays and Christmas combined. It is the start of the growing season and after a long impatient wait, seeds can be sown.
Then the days and weeks are marked all season. 14 days for seedlings to appear, 6 weeks until the last frost date, 100 days from September 16 until Christmas because that’s how long Jersey Benne Potatoes take. Saying goodbye to the last asparagus at Christmas so the crowns can restore themselves. Tomato plants being constantly watched – for the first tomato, the first red tomato, the first signs of blight. The peach harvest comes and goes in the blink of an eye, the late summer days are counted by the ever-increasing number of zucchini sitting on the bench waiting to be eaten.
Eventually, there is the inevitable decline across the garden as summer begins to turn into autumn and the days shorten and introduce a chill and then we are back to counting the days until the spring is with us again.
A garden can bring you in tune with nature, slow you down to a rhythm that has no room for impatience that urges things to happen before their time, but at the same time the season looks over its shoulder asking you ‘are you keeping up because time is ticking on and it will all be over soon.’
Maybe I’m just getting old and noticing the march of time more these days (but I’m not really old at all). But on the up side the new season gives us the opportunity for hope – hope that things will be better than last year. The air is filled with anticipation and expectation. It gives us a reason to rouse from our winter inertia and breathe deeply the new season air. A wonderful way to feel alive and full of vigour.
So while we are standing at the edge of our exciting tomorrow, I am wanting to shout, “not yet – I’m not ready!” My soil is still wet and needs attention and I’m not ready for another season in my life to pass me by. The only answer to this is of course to make the most of every single day. Stop and smell the sweet-smelling flowers, notice the way the pea tendrils cling to the trellis, savour the taste of freshly harvested sweetcorn. Time passes regardless of how we use it, and tending a garden is a great way to make the most of it and appreciate it all the more.
Come again soon – tomorrow is spring and there is so much to be done.
Sarah the Gardener : o)