I have been trying to write a new post for the past 6 weeks. 6 weeks of opening the laptop and staring at a blank screen until my cup of tea goes cold, sighing, and then closing it again before making a fresh cuppa. Well, I have a nice, hot cup of tea to my right and a cuddly snoring spaniel to my left and I have a subject. Kinda.
While thinking back on the past couple of months I realised that nothing interesting has really happened. Perhaps that is why I was struggling here? March was a very, very long month. Seriously long. I think the near permanent cover of grey cloud just made everything seem…. dull.
Then April arrived!
The weather started to perk up, Spring most definitely sprang and people started smiling again. Happiness is creeping back out into the world and with that in mind (and not wanting to stare at a blank screen anymore) I thought I would write posts about things in my life that make me happy. Starting with:
Gardening is a new joy of mine. As someone who has suffered with truly horrific allergies in the past, the prospect of dealing with the little plot of land in front of my house was not a pleasant one. The house itself stands out like a sore thumb. The only house on the street with a front garden (which is almost 6 foot above pavement level at one point) and painted white, it is very different to the terraced properties that sit either side of it.
I remember many, many years ago before I met my husband, walking by this house and instinctively looking up at it, just as I watch people do now from my windows. You cant help it, it is an imposing building that always gets your attention, and it was because of this that I knew something HAD to be done with the garden.
I had no gardening experience and in all honesty, no real desire to do much with it. I just knew that it needed to be tidied. After many discussions with the husband (which always end with me getting my way) I decided the only sensible thing would be to remove all the grass and have patios instead leaving space around the edges for a simple hedge to be planted for a little bit of privacy. Not only would this be easy to maintain, but it wouldn’t be to hard on my poor, suffering sinuses. So I called in some builders and we got started.
The plan was simple. 2 large rectangle patios with a Laurel Hedge. I figured if I wanted to, I could add potted plants later on. Then it happened. I became… A Gardener.
After spending 2 days carefully placing the newly delivered Laurel plants, I ached. That deep, burning, ache that comes with the satisfaction of knowing you have done something really productive.
I was in love.
My new little hedge babies suddenly became my pride and joy. I would look out of my window to check on them all the time. I started trawling the Royal Horticultural Society website for information and tips on pruning and feeding and soil qualities. My idea of relaxing in the evening became hours on Pinterest looking at other peoples gardens for inspiration.
Each week my friend (you know the one) and I would visit a local carboot sale and we would always come home with bags full of new plants. I would be so excited to get dirt under my fingernails and at the end of each day spent in the garden I would excitedly show my husband my latest additions like a happy little child with a new finger painting.
That first Summer taught me a lot. I started noticing EXACTLY where the sun hits at all times of the day. I learned to embrace worms! I became very defensive of bees and every sighting of a butterfly was met with a little happy squeal and hand clapping. Every day I would be stopped by passers by and told how lovely everything looked and what a wonderful job I was doing. They would give me tips or plant suggestions based on their on experiences. I felt that not only was I getting enjoyment from my garden, but the complete strangers that walked by my house each day were enjoying it too.
With the Winter came the storms and I started learning new lessons about drainage and wind burn and frost. I lost a few plants to some very strong winds and each day I watched as the weeds started fighting their way back in, knowing I couldn’t physically get out there and deal with them in that kind of weather. I had always been the type of person that hated the Summer and was happiest in the Winter. Most likely because of my allergies…. But now I found myself wishing for Spring. Desperately waiting to get back out in my garden, to clear the weeds and to watch everything come back to life. I did manage to keep myself busy though….
My little town has a very special festival day each spring called Flora Day. The whole town is festooned with Gorse and Bluebells and lily of the Valley and dancers in all their finery parade through the streets. One of these dances happens to go past my house and now that I had a nicer looking garden, I felt I could add more decoration and be a part of the celebrations.
So I turned to my other hobby…. crochet.
And now… 2 years after that first decision to just “deal with it”, I am hopelessly devoted to my garden. With every new bloom I fall more in love. I never before understood how people could derive such joy from playing in the dirt, but now I not only understand it, I crave it.
A garden can bring so much joy to you if you let it. And it is a gift that will always give you back what you put in and then some. My only regret is that it took me so long to appreciate how much it could add to my life.