We had a rare sunny-ish day – the clouds were rolling in but I managed to squeeze off a shot. It’s overcast and dreary now, and even though it will be Feb tomorrow, it’s feeling like a very soggy November. The season is confused; daffodils are blooming before the snowdrops have appeared, and the bluebells are trying to come up a good two months early. It’s a bit weird, and I feel myself wanting to get my scramble-on in the garden to get ready for planting even though my energy levels aren’t making preparation easy, especially in the rain. I’m struggling to figure out how to make it happen, truth be told. I may end up having to bribe my son into helping me clear some space and organise some pots.
Last week I made wassail and poured a measure for each of the trees my garden. As I did so, I gave the entire garden a look over, plotting and planning what is to be done. Mother Dirt will be waking up and warming, ready for another season of growing, fertilising and food. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed; I did no preparation or overwintering at all last year as I hit a very bad health-slump in July, and I never recovered. I don’t think there is such a thing as ‘recovery’, in this regard; it’s merely my new bar of ‘normal’. Therefore, there is a lot of heavy graft and catching up which is going to require a fair bit of dedication to do, and I’m not entirely certain how to do it, especially on decking so treacherous I’m afraid to walk on it.
The garden is in desperate need of a refit, but due to money constraints that kind of project probably won’t happen till high summer – and as that’s usually the busiest time for landscapers and gardeners, I wonder if the reality will more likely be fall. The decking absolutely has GOT to go, and I’ve realised with a qualm that even if I put a new system of steps in, it’s still stairs…eventually, even those may need replacing someday, which means more money outlay. I’d do it now but it means doing a concrete incline, and inclines +walking = disaster for me at the moment. I dread going down into the lower garden due to precarious steps and uneven ground; it’s one of the main reasons I put perennial crops and plants I only intend on harvesting when I need them. I’ve decided the raspberries will be moved into the back garden and put into containers; I keep getting rather miserable harvests because I do not feel confident walking down to fertilise/water/harvest. Root veg and self-sowing veg is going into the lower beds where they can be left pretty much to their own devices except when I want to harvest some leafy greens or roots. Fungus-inoculated logs in pots will go on the palettes, and this should mean I rarely need to go down there at all, at least until the stairs are repaired.
Everything is being shuffled and redone; from the front garden weed-control and planting in pots, to the patio reworking for growing tomatoes and chillies, to giving myself a place to sit and for my son and I to dine al-fresco (provided I work through the final niggles and worries of my social anxiety so I can stomach the stares). I’m having to adapt my garden to suit me and my requirements and ever-less-able mobility – with this said, I knew this was something I’d have to do, and I’ve been planning accordingly over the past few years. I’ve taken some inspiration from a lot of permaculture gardeners with self-sowing annuals and a wide variety of perennials so I can keep the sowing/potting/planting on to a minimum but still have a variety of foods to choose from. I’ve learned what fruits and veg we actually bother to eat and I’ve been learning more about bi-annual seed saving, having saved the first of the parsnips last year. As parsnips are essentially replacing potatoes in my garden, I’m looking forward to seeing how well I did with the results. I’m trying to figure out how to grow things which are a bit more a challenge, and yet something I feel is so superior to store-bought I simply cannot do without them (ohai, tomatoes and chillies trying to be grown in the UK! Y Helo Thar, squashes that summon the slug-legions to my garden in droves!).
And of course, the promises I’ve made to the landwight must be adhered to as well; feeding the birds, making sure I don’t overstep my reach, give back what was taken, take back what is given. I spend a lot of money on feeding the birds, but as long as I am willing to spend money on seed, it seems I’m guaranteed to always have plenty of funds to do so. The hedgerow I planted a few years ago is growing with alacrity and I’m pleased to see it. I’m envisioning sloes, wild plums and elderflowers in the future. The soil erosion may slow a bit as a result, and I just have to hope whatever landscaper comes in won’t take it all out or damage it. In a perfect world, I’d plant more of my trees along the line, and perhaps when the garden refit happens, I can ask for this to be done, but the buddileia – in all its encroaching, expanding glory – will be allowed to stay. It’s too much a haven for the painted lady butterflies for me to have it removed. And I guess I no longer feel too crap about not going into the woods more often to clear some rubbish and bits and bobs as this weekend showed me the admonishments of ‘You are of no use to Us if you are injured’ wasn’t just snark. Walking the woodlands with all its muck and inclines is too much for me now. And that’s ok. I have other abilities to check on the pulse of the land that doesn’t involve walking in it.
There are times the sheer amount of work does my head in; So. Much. To Do. But breaking things down into small tasks is how I’ve learned to roll, and being satisfied that I’ve done something, even if I haven’t done everything, keeps me from berating myself for a lack of progress. Some days, I manage to water. Some days, I fill a trug with compost, even if I don’t actually put it into the intended bed till the following day. A task that would take another gardener an hour usually takes me a week. But it’s ok, because it’s getting done, and that is what counts.
So, today I dump some garlic chive seeds and everlasting onion seeds into two pots to pop onto my windowsill. A simple thing, hardly that involved. But it’s two pots more of perennials than I’ve had, and it counts for something.
It always counts for something.