En Passant

We haven’t written about actual gardening on this blog for some time. And that trend can stop right now!

Although my garden, at 5 acres, is large by modern standards, I can walk from one end to the other in five minutes flat – I know I can.

So how come a trip to the compost heaps with a laden barrow takes half an hour? The barrow’s not that heavy!

Well, it is all the ‘I’ll just’s which I do on the way.

I am not talking the odd weed which catches your eye. Any gardener does that. What happens is a trimmed shrub, removing a few bamboo canes which have worked loose from a clump, a prolonged stare at a border to work out what’s missing, a decision to ‘give thumbs down’ to a weakling hebe that can easily just be yanked out of the ground,  pulling some ivy away from the base of a hazel in the wood…..and some!

Twenty minutes later I arrive at the compost heap having travelled a rather circuitous route. 

What I do depends on the space on the barrow, the season, the tools I have with me and if I am honest what offends me most. By the time I enter the little wood where the compost heap is, the space on the barrow doesn’t really matter, because the brash can just be left on the floor – that is after all the natural thing in woods.

Now, I work in three to four hour stints-anything more I think is unproductive. I suspect my average number of trips to the compost heap is three. The maths is easy. I spend almost half my time going to the compost heap!

How productive is all this? Well, I realize my style of gardening can seem quite impromptu and flibberty-gibbet. But I think it is actually the mark of real responsiveness and connection with the landscape. I also think that it stops little problems becoming big time consuming ones.

It also works for me. Gardening is hard enough a job. If you can’t garden in a style which suits you, that really is tough! We should not be on some kind of hateful treadmill that becomes an end in itself. The final proof for me is in the result. It tweaks the garden into looking overall much sharper and more focussed. That I do enjoy.

R

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