No more procrastination

Dicentra scandens
Dicentra scandens grown from seed this year

I have had the last week off as annual leave and its been a real mixed week emotionally, but as I face the prospect of going back to work tomorrow I think the break has done me a power of good.

As ever I had ridiculously unrealistic plans for the week and luckily the rain which we had for most of the week curtailed some of those plans or I would have really run myself into the ground.  The week started with a visit to Hidcote and Kiftsgate Gardens in the Cotswolds with Victoria.  I wrote about the trip to Hidcote here and will write about Kiftsgate soon – promise. We had a great day though I found myself wondering whether visiting two gardens in one day is such a good idea.  It’s not so much physical demands but more trying to differentiate between the impressions left by the two gardens in my mind days later.

Tuesday brought a routine visit to the doctors which has resulted in me having to have a fasting blood test first thing tomorrow morning so no more food or drink for me until tomorrow  so this post might be rather long as a distraction.  The blood test is only precautionary to make sure there isn’t any medical reason for my continued tiredness which both the doctor and I suspect is due to me trying to come to terms with losing my sister last October. Not  having experienced grief before I have been overwhelmed by the extreme ping-pong effect on my emotions and the tiredness I feel.  However, a  positive thing to come out of losing Claire is that my attitude to life has changed,  this is not always a good thing as I tended to say what I thought before and this has probably got worse, but I do find myself thinking more and more that life is just too short so what the heck.  Instead of procrastinating about studying for the RHS certificates and finding 101 reasons why I shouldn’t do it I have just signed up for the  course.

Consequently, as part of the arduous process that seems to be involved with signing up for this course at the local horticultural college Wednesday found me on a taster day.  We were a disparate group: 4 teenage boys (1 a real goth), 2 chaps in their late 20s,  a 30 something lady who was into organics and community gardening, a lady in her 50s who wanted to take up garden design, and me.  It turned out that the taster day was for anyone interested in any course to do with horticulture, landscaping etc.  The morning was spent learning to take cuttings and potting up a decorative pot – not really challenging and then after lunch we were to do hard landscaping.  I have to say that my heart sank at the prospect but not as much as it would have done a year ago.  We were presented with some paving and told to have a go at laying it.  We worked in pairs (I worked with the 50-year-old lady who was also called Helen).  It turned out that all  the lads were interested in hard landscaping courses so this was right up their street.  Helen and I decided that we would just go for it and do our best in a corner out-of-the-way.  Turned out we were fab, every  slab was level first time – even our tutor was impressed and we out did the la!ds  We had such a laugh that I think we were bordering on hysteria.  Found myself seriously considering taking up hard landscaping – well for about  an hour!.

Thursday and the weather was rubbish – rain and more rain.  It was one of those days to address  jobs you have avoided so I did all my paperwork which did in the end leave me feeling quite pleased with myself.  On a positive note I confirmed the arrangements for a visit to Highgrove Gardens with a bunch of garden twitters (you know who you are).  It had taken less than a week from a casual wouldn’t it be nice to conversation on twitter to making the booking – more of my new grab life while you can attitude.

The week deteriorated after this due to reading that one of the US blotanists had lost her 21-year-old daughter in a car accident.  Not surprisingly this brought emotions to the surface which was challenging.  The remedy was to get my parents around for what the Americans call a work party.  We tidied the front garden, my least favourite part of the  garden, weeded the driveway and the patio and generally had a really good tidy up of the garden.  As I worked with my Mum we talked about my sister and her family which was good.  We also decided that we couldn’t face another Christmas like last year and that as Christmas would never be the same again we should do something completely different this year.  So I now have the task of finding a holiday cottage for us for this Christmas – just what I need, a project to get my teeth in to.

Finally, feeling recharged, today I set to in the garden and decided that enough was enough.  As some readers will know I am addicted to growing things from seed and then struggle to find homes for the plants I grow.  I am getting better at only pricking out a few of each batch but I do have quite a lot of young plants from seeds sown last year and the year before which were still sitting in pots looking neglected.  So today  I planted all of them – every single one.  I have about 20 Dierama which I have planted in a big block  in the raised bed at the top of the  garden along with lots of grass seedlings.  Who know what the  result will look like in a year’s time but I don’t care – I can always move things around and you never know my gung-ho attitude may have some good outcomes.

So that’s me all recharged emotional and physically and with projects identified to give me something to focus on for the next couple of months until my course  starts. Three days back at work and then we are off to Sorrento in Italy for a week I can’t wait.

Author: Helen Johnstone

I live in Malvern, Worcestershire and am a very keen gardener. I started the Patient Gardener Blog in January 2008 as a way of recording what was happening in my garden and connecting with other like-minded people. I started a second blog PatientGardener 365 January 2013 in order to try and post a photo a day to capture what is growing in my garden or places I have visited

9 thoughts on “No more procrastination”

  1. i am so sorry to read of your loss. i definitely hope you find solace, peace, and smiles in your gardening. i know for me the garden is the one thing that soothes my mind and soul, especially the patch of hostas and lilacs that i planted in memory of my father. something about gardens that grow anew with each new year gives you hope for better days ahead. best wishes — Allison

    1. Thanks – I hadnt meant the post to be about my grief but this has obviously come through more than I had realised.

    1. Thanks for asking, my niece (5) is OK. Very spoilt and gets away with lots! But she does miss her Mum alot

  2. I am so sorry to hear that you lost your sister. My sincere condolences. I know this loss is never something you will ‘get over’ but over time the ‘good’ days will outnumber the ones that are so painful.
    your new attitude is the one I adopted after my great loss. What the heck, life is too short. There is much healing to be found in the garden.

    I just recently found your blog and I love it!

    1. Thanks for your kind words. I find that if I have a project or something to focus on I’m Ok or I just drift and then it all goes downhill.

  3. Hi Helen,

    I’m glad you’ve decided there’s no more procrastination, I could do with a dose of it myself!

    Sorry to hear you’re still grieving for your sister, but I can well understand that and I’m not sure it’ll ever completely go away, more a case of coming to terms with the loss.
    I hope the bloodtest results are ok too, always such a worry!

  4. I enjoyed your post. It’s so real to read about the reality of life, death, grief, coping plans, making furture plans to jfdi and all the steps in between.

    2 years ago I had a stroke which was a shift change for me to become something I loved and was proud of. It is a difficult road but one worth taking I think and the zero procrastination attitude helps me not to wallow when things go wrong.

    LA good reminder not to waste life on putting things off!

  5. Hi Helen, thank you for this post. I feel like I know you so much better now. I’m again so sorry about Claire. I’ve never lost my one sister, but I did lose a BIL, a SIL and two very good friends. I admire your new attitude, and I think celebrating Christmas in a whole new way will bring much healing. I’m sending you hugs from Oklahoma. After my beloved Grandma Nita died, I was tired for over a year, and sometimes grief still hits me out of nowhere. The intensity used to scare me, but now I know just to let it flow.

    On another note, I wish we had such horticulture classes in Oklahoma. The closest thing is Master Gardeners, and no, it’s not the same.

Please feel free to leave comments as its always lovely to get feedback. I try to respond to comments as much as possible but sometimes life and work get in the way but I will do my best to respond especially if your comment is a question.

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