Now that I have my Handy Helper who pops along once a week to help out, to make things easier for me, I have this huge hankering in me to create a visible difference in the garden so when she comes back, she will know I’ve been busy. I haven’t asked her to hold me accountable or anything, but it is a bit like cleaning before the cleaners come. I don’t want her to think I haven’t done anything in her absence and that she is the only one doing anything. It is a self-imposed madness, because getting help is supposed make things easier for me, not turn me into a crazed gardener on the verge of burnout or body malfunctions.
Yesterday was Naked Gardening Day… not that I’m about to get my kit off and garden in the nuddy… even if our garden is in an isolated spot. It is far to cold for that kind of nonsense. The only nudity going on was my naked obsession to get a difficult job finished. And then at about lunchtime I woke up to myself, after noticing a twinge in my elbow, and decided it didn’t need to be done all in one go. So, I stopped.
After all of the efforts my lovely Handy Helper was able to do in her allotted time, I wanted to mirror that with my achievements, so it felt like we are pushing forward together. So, I threw myself into some of my ongoing projects. This soon frustrated me as, I had been toiling away for hours and there was barely anything to show for it. It was important work, lifting the freshly sprouted kikuyu rhizomes where the tractor had cleared the land. There are always the evitable ones that got left behind, but the sand is soft, and the green tips are like a little flag… “Here I am!” and so I just need to reach into the soil and pull them out. The easiest weeding I’ve ever done. But not as visually impactful as if it was a solid green I was clearing away. So, for dramatic affect I picked a really weedy bit to clear away.
Then I decided to take care of the poor neglected seedlings that have languished ignored since I fell off the deck. I transplanted their stunted little bodies into fresh potting mix and hope for the best. Although I’m not expecting much so I also sowed a replacement set of seeds. And a quick check of the calendar revealed it was 8 weeks until the shortest day when traditional wisdom suggests it is a good time to plant onions. Allowing for the possibility of a resow as they can be a bit fickle, I sowed this year’s onion seeds as well. And just like that there was visual impact in the greenhouse. Although possible cleaning up all the items I store in the greenhouse and putting them back in a nice orderly fashion instead of leaving them out in front, in hindsight, was probably just as an important job and then I could actually tick ‘clean greenhouse’ off the ‘to do’ list.
Having my lovely Handy Helper proved a tad dangerous at the garden centre. I told myself that she needs to have all the resources at her disposal so she can just crack on. But a strange thing happens at the garden centre… the moment you put more than two items in your trolley, it unleashes some kind of mania and before you know it your trolley is full, and your wallet is empty. And now I have some lovely spring bulbs to find the time to plant, among and load of bargains I managed to snag!
But even staying at home, resting on the sofa is dangerous. I saw a clearance offer too hard to resist for 25 trees in a ‘tough as nails’ – suitable for coastal conditions offer on one of those pop-up adverts. I don’t know what came over me, but suddenly there were 25 trees winging there way to me.
As they were on clearance, they were in small 7cm pots, but are at least a metre tall with roots sticking out the bottom of their bulging pots. So, my natural reaction was to prepare the ground. The only problem is the ground has been lingering on the bottom of the ‘to do’ list for months. They are help build a wind break at the front of the house to slow the wind before it gets to the garden. But the fabric wind breaks had broken and needed renewing and the kikuyu grass had romped away and hid everything, including the poor old trees I had put in there during several previous planting attempts.
The first thing was to clear away the broken wind break and trim the grass so we can have a clear run at remaking it. Then I foraged about in the grass trying to find survivors and cleared space around them so they could breathe. There were quite a few more than I had expected so I didn’t feel so despondent about having this project being neglected for so long. But with the new trees at the forefront of my mind, I pushed on like a madman, until that twinge in my elbow that woke me up to the fact I didn’t need to get it all done in one day. I took the trees and set them in a container with a layer of compost, so their exposed roots were no longer exposed and vulnerable. I did toy with the idea of repotting them, but that would doom them as they would no longer worry me, and they would soon be forgotten.
And so now I am going to be more sensible… and break all the hard, boring, or visually unnoticeable jobs into small chunks and tackle them all side by side in a little and often approach and before you know it, I will pop out the other side of this short season with jobs done and no harm done.
Come again soon – little and often is the best way forward.
Sarah the Gardener : o)