The Strangest Year

2020 was an odd year and to be honest I am pleased it is behind us.

January started with pest and disease and turbulent storms in the garden.  Little did I know this would be a metaphor for the entire year.    February lulled us into a false sense of security and was more settled.  There seemed to be a rhythm and routine and order and control.  I barely remember it.  It feels so odd to have a time when things were progressing as they should.  However, it would seem this was the calm before the storm.  Everything was about to be turned upside down.

jan 2020
January:  Starting the new year always feels like stepping out over a new threshold.

As March turned to autumn it introduced us to Lockdown.  It didn’t change much in my world but at the same time it inexplicably changed everything.   April brought with it a weird inertia, at that time of year the garden was winding down, so there wasn’t much to do but what there was didn’t fill me with joy…  possibly as most of it was pulling things out and an emptying of the garden rather than the excitement of filling it up and all the hope and promise that brings.

Feb 2020
February:  The garden is at its height of abundance at this time of year. (And we got the first look at the new tool shed)

In an attempt to shake the mood, I decided to #MakeMayCount.  There is a natural lull in life during May as it is the doorstep to winter and what stretches ahead isn’t as joyful as the doorstep to summer.  I would like to think I do this again as it brings life into the days, although the lesson I need to learn from last May is not to over do things trying to make the month count.  May also had the added strangeness of re-entering the world again.  Busy hands prevented dwelling on just how scary this was…  Was it actually safe, could we trust in what we once took for granted?

Mar 2020
March:   The sign on the shed – Grateful, Thankful, Blessed couldn’t feel more appropriate in light of what was about to happen.

June brought with the winter and a slower pace after the busy heady May days.  Just pottering about and starting to think about making plans for the new growing season.  July was typically winter with the ravages of storms and the turn of the calendar suggesting spring is closer than realized.  

April 2020
April:   was as weird as having an abundance of watermelon in mid autumn!

Looking back over August invokes feelings of stress and overwhelmedness.  I had taken my eye off the ball too much in the early mid-winter and now the entire growing season needed planning and preparation in a short space of time and if that wasn’t enough, we were plunged into another lockdown and the sense of weirdness returned.

May 2020
May:  In spite of days like these it was a very productive month.

Spring arrived in September with all the fanfare and excitement of a new growing season but with the underlying currents of a hastily prepared party, it was good enough, but not nearly as wonderful as I had hoped for. 

June 2020
June:  Just to add to the strangeness of the year I had self seeded sunflowers in winter!

October contained a milestone – a birthday with an ‘0’ in it.  Birthdays with ‘0’s in them always leave you questioning how you are going in life and I love where we are and what we are doing.   It coincided with the big spring plant out week and it really felt like a new beginning, the start of something wonderful, and yet the continuation of something that feels right and comfortable, like an old sock.

July 2020
July:   Midwinter was as was expected with plenty of storm weather.

November was a month of spring storms, holidays and reaching that sweet spot where the garden was finally planted out.  The time away from the garden for weather or leisure didn’t impact the tasks required from the garden.  But then November is always that month that is like the eye of the storm, the one where you can stop with the prepping and planning and enjoy the calm before the harvest and the festive season kicks in.

Aug 2020
August:   The time was right for making plans in the warmth of the office.

This December hasn’t been the easiest, the unbalanced and unsettled nature of life since the arrival of the first lockdown, culminated in an end of year frenzy of activity ‘to get things finished’ for the year.  However, this beginning and ending feels imagined especially when you are in the middle of the growing season and have yet to see an abundance of anything in the harvest basket.   

Sept 2020
September:  The potential for the entire harvest was sown in seed.

But a good push to cross things off the list, means 2021 will start afresh and the navel gazing of this blog post will help to set things in place so the good is repeated and the worst is cast aside.  

In hindsight I think I’m going into the new year in a different position as the entire garden is in control – there are problems, however they aren’t insurmountable and if things fail, then there is nothing to be done about it, so I’m trying not to lose energy and effort worrying about it. If I have put my best foot forward, then what will be will be.

Oct 2020
October:  Growth multiplies quickly at this time of year.

I started last year with the word Overcome but standing at the other end of the year it feels like the word has morphed into Overwhelm.

My words from this time last year still apply:   ”It makes sense then that my new year’s resolutions would be a focus of health and wellbeing with a bit of mindfulness thrown in for good measure.” … “I envisaged a sense of calm and slow gentleness where life falls into place perfectly and the garden will flourish under this new approach.”

Nov 2020
November:   It is important to make time to enjoy life, like a mini break away in the beautiful Queenstown.

What I need to do this year is approach it with a more level head.  Yes, take time to unwind, but also plan and prepare so the future doesn’t come as a surprise.  I need to even out the boom and bust situations in the garden so there is a gentle ebb and flow that is more enjoyable no matter what the weather or the season.  Plunging oneself into situations of panic on a regular basis isn’t good for overall wellbeing. 

Dec 2020
December:  The garden today, on the verge of an abundant harvest.

The word for 2021 shall be ‘Steady’ as in ‘steady as she goes’.

Come again soon – next year things will be the same but different.

Oh and…  Happy New Year!!!

Sarah the Gardener : o)

19 thoughts on “The Strangest Year

  1. Happy New Year to you also. Your garden looks magnificent. Ready to burst forth. So maybe not so much of the ‘steady’ to come.

    1. Thank you so much. I’m hoping to approach the harvest in a away that is enjoyable rather than something than needs to be done and squeezed in to a busy schedule… slow and steady wins the race! Time will tell! : o)

  2. I still don’t have a word for the year! But my plan for the garden is to aim for incremental improvements, because otherwise Overwhelm is definitely what’s going to happen.

    1. Yup – slow and steady wins the race. I certainly don’t want a repeat of the overwhelmed feeling from last year. Just so long as I continue to put one foot forward I should be ok. All the best for the new year, I hope it becomes everything you need it to be. : o)

  3. Sarah, this is a lovely recap of a very strange year. That last photo is a stunner. It’s a testament to all the work you’ve done to create a new and wonderful garden. It’s magnificent. Happy New Year.

    1. Sometimes it helps to look back to see how far we have come. I am really pleased with the garden so far and am looking forward to a great harvest this season. Happy New Year to you too. Stay safe. : o)

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