It suddenly hit me like a slap around the face; I do actually, really, truly love gardening. I couldn’t quite believe it actually. No, I said to myself, it’s not true. This is just a phase. You’ll grow out of it.
But I haven’t. I really enjoy it. And if I’m totally honest I have done so for about a year now. I always thought that gardening was the domain of ahem…older people, retirees and the like but I don’t fall into these categories, and won’t for a good few years so I was a bit shocked when I realised.
I know, how could I have not realised, right? Well, since we moved into this house I’ve wanted to have a nice garden, not necessarily with pretty flowers and shrubs etc. but, you know, for it to be tidy, presentable, and later on for there to be plenty of room for child paraphernalia. So while I thought I was just a tidy upperer, in actual fact I’ve morphed into a fully developed gardener. I suppose I could liken it to a drunk who doesn’t realise he’s a drunk till he wakes up one morning, and realises he is gagging for a drink. Similarly I wake up in the morning and think about what I need to do to my garden. It’s the most pleasurable feeling but I don’t feel rushed into doing it, it’s not like a chore. It’s something that the anticipation of doing is almost as pleasurable as the actual doing.
I think the previous owner of our house, clearly an avid gardener herself helped me make that transition. Although the garden was beautiful when we originally viewed the house, by the time we moved in it was a bit of a state. I guess once she knew she was leaving the garden, it no longer held any interest for her. I am very grateful to her though because not only did I see just how lovely the garden could be, I resolved, once it was mine, to restore it to its former loveliness. Also, her legacy was lots of beautiful shrubs which come up stronger each year and surprise me. I think this has had the most impact on my growing love of gardening. I also think that the peace I feel when planting, and pruning things has much to do with it too. There is a definite therapeutic effect to gardening. And then there is the excitement when things start to grow. When seeds I have planted actually metamorphose into a beautiful flower or plant.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my fair share of failures in this garden. The first year we were here I was spending money hand over fist in an attempt to pretty up the garden only to find that within a week they were dead due to the harsh winds we get here – which is the most frustrating thing of all. Mother nature was saying to me “No missy, don’t come round here with your high faluting ideas about having a nice garden without working for it”.
I have learnt my lesson though and these days I spend very little on plants and seeds, preferring to buy the cheaper, scraggly looking specimens in garden centres and bringing them back to life or doing a seed exchange with my sister-in-law. When I do buy plants I stick to the ones I know can withstand the conditions of my garden so I can’t go far wrong and the number of failures is dropping significantly.