Recently a wise man reminded me that you don’t really appreciate things until you lose them or teeter on the edge of doing so. That wise man was my eldest son and the thing I was considering losing was the garden.
I have been contemplating moving house over the last few weeks. My youngest is buying his first home and helping him look at mortgages led to me investigating what I could borrow, which inevitably lead to some looking at property websites, and then to a valuation of the house. We got as far as having an appointment set for last weekend for photographs to be taken and details put on the web. However, whilst I was away in Rome I find myself thinking about the whole thing a lot and the persistent small voice of my instinct kept saying this was not a good decision right now. My practical head argued that I was in a position to push myself up the property ladder and this was an investment for my retirement but still the voice of instinct niggled away causing doubt. Finally, halfway up the M5 on the way home, I decided that the idea should be put on hold for the time being until my desire to move was stronger than just looking to improve my property investment.
On Saturday morning I stepped out into the garden and calm descended on my soul. My cricket like brain stopped jumping and the endless considerations of whether to buy a refurbishment project or a house already done, was there enough garden to satisfy me, was it overlooked, what about trees, what about slopes, how far from work was it, how far from Mum, what about when it snowed…stopped. No actually they vanished and the garden and I became friends again; like a pair of old friends reunited after some old disagreement the details of which neither could remember.
How, after all my work, especially in the last couple of years could I contemplate not waiting to see if my plans came to fruition? Would the Big Border finally have a sense of cohesion, would the Hardy Exotic Border look as lush as I imagined and would the tree peony ever flower? We got to know each other again. I weeded and weeded. I noted the gaps that needed filling and the odd plant that needed rescuing from being overwhelmed by its neighbours. Also the buds of poppies and irises mistreated over recent years but now forgiving me and offering a peace treaty, a floral supplication, not to be moved for a while.
We are friends again and I feel like a huge self imposed weight has come off me. I really struggled while I was getting everything ready to put the house on the market with engaging with the garden. I have become such an all or nothing character over the recent years that there seemed no point doing the garden, pricking out seeds, or buying anything at the Malvern Show and it made me so sad. I really didn’t know what to do. Now though I am back rushing outside after work and loving the garden. There is still plenty of projects and plans that need completing or tweaking to keep me entertained for a few years yet. Then maybe something will happen or come along that will mean that I have to accommodate less requirements when I move and the decision may seem more obvious and the wrench from the garden will not be so great.
Meanwhile the wise man nods knowingly and I find myself surprised at just how much the garden and some of the plants mean to me.