In the Garden

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The past few days have been satisfying. Time spent away from the Internet has been nourishing to my frazzled soul. The weather has also been kind and enabled me to weed and dig, and spread manure and sow a few early seeds.

I forget how much I need to be outside. Winter creeps surreptitiously into my life and I don’t realise it has been months since I spent more than a few short minutes in the garden. My body needs to be outside and my brain needs it too. Like water. Like air. I need to feel the sun and the breeze on my face and the earth between my fingers. I need to trim dead branches and gather old leaves because this process is a like a life ritual for me. As I prune and clear the garden I am also purging the dead and the dying and the useless thoughts from my mind. And the growing of vegetables, herbs and fruits nourishes me just as much as the eating of them does.

“The single greatest lesson the garden teaches is that our relationship to the planet need not be zero-sum, and that as long as the sun still shines and people still can plan and plant, think and do, we can, if we bother to try, find ways to provide for ourselves without diminishing the world.”

~ Michael Pollan

The compost crumbles to a fine tilth between my fingers  as I scatter it over the seeds and dampen the soil with water where it is parched. The rosemary in her pot was a thirsty soul and the potted rose has doubled in size in a week, I swear.

I transplanted half a clump of campanula that grew out of nowhere between a crack in the paving and the wall of the house, and replanted it in a pot to put on the garden table. Now I can look forward to purple bells in the summertime. I sowed everlasting sunflowers – the tiny seeds were so different to the usual varieties – and I am still deciding where to put the sweet peas I bought from the garden centre. In a pot or in the garden bed?

From time to time I stop to sit and bask in the sunshine and habitually squeeze the leaves of my new thyme plant between my fingers and inhale the lemony fresh scent.

I sowed radish and beetroot and inspected the spring greens and the tight clusters of white violet-hearted petals on my two broad bean plants. An experiment to see how well they grow and if it is worth allocating them more garden space next year. Lots of leeks look ready for eating – I must remember to use more leeks in the kitchen and look up recipes for their use. I dig and break up the thick clods of clay soil and it breaks my heart when I inadvertently slice a poor earthworm.

And please do tell me where all the dandelions come from? I remove their long tap roots every year, and every year they return. I shall make a salad of them or tea perhaps.

I love being outside and tending the Earth – just my small part of it –  I even begin to feel like a new person 🙂

x

17 thoughts on “In the Garden

  1. Until lately, I probably used leeks more than any other vegetable. Leeks in potato gratin ,,, what’s that? Gratin Dauphinois, I think? Anyway, a layer of leeks at the bottom is wonderful. My sauce recipes usually had leeks in them. Sauce for pasta, etc. I always use a huge can of tomatoes that when cooked, use the immersion blender then into freezer containers. Just remember to take the bay leaf out. For I can attest to how horrible, bit’s of bay leaf are. Cheers Jamie

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    1. Leeks are a mighty versatile vegetable 🙂 I’ve had a lot more success growing leeks than I did growing onions, and they’re a pretty good substitute for onions in many recipes too. I use them most for soups – a simple leek and potato soup is my favourite.

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      1. Leeks there’s reason they’re the Welsh national emblem.

        In Canada and I suppose Italy? Courgettes are called zucchini.

        When I lived in Wales, I grew a lot of marrow. Which are not exactly the same. They’re a summer squash, notwithstanding. We ate stuffed marrow, Using rice, peppers and mushrooms. That’s something else, the wild mushrooms. Thanks to the sheep and cattle. Cheers Jamie

        P.S. If you allow some leeks to flower and seed, they will keep coming year after year. Though they enjoy being trenched, to blanch the stems. The trenching keeps them upright, too. Cheers Jamie

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  2. I am not much of a vegetable gardener but my husband does a good job growing some veg. The climate up North is quite limiting I find but there are always courgettes 🙂 I have a rambling campanula, too. It is lovely to watch it spread year after year. Being outdoors is such an important part of life. I take the dog for long walks whenever I can. Happy gardening. x

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    1. Yes, I should imagine it’s quite tricky growing veg up north in the colder climes. I grew courgettes for the first time last year and was very pleased with the result. Though I couldn’t resist picking them when they were quite small… baby courgettes, sliced in half, baked in the oven with salt and pepper and a drizzle of oil are delicious.

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    1. Good luck with your veg growing. For me it’s been a good lesson in patience (of which I have little) and trial and error (a whole lot of error over the years!), but so worth it 🙂

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  3. Every little emerging bud and shoot sparks enthusiasm to step outside… (not to mention I’d find any excuse to neglect the housework 😉

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  4. Just reading your post made me feel like I was out in the sunshine, feeling its warmth. We’ve just one day where it was really warm. Last night it dropped down into the upper 20s again 😦 It’s almost May and it should be warmer, but somehow, this year, it seems to be just limping along toward Spring as I used to know it.

    You described perfect my own need and desire to be outside, to breathe in the wonderful clean air of Spring. Our Forsythia is ablaze at the side of our house, but few of the lower bushes, or the taller trees have shows anything more than the fuzziness, like a buzz cut.

    Oh, I know where dandelions come from! The Mother; The Earth but you knew that 🙂 They are dotting the front lawn which seems to have greened nicely, and the violets are popping up as well. It’s all so pretty.

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    1. It all sounds lovely. The weather has been unseasonably warm and dry here. Hardly any of our usual April showers, so I’ve been able to spend more time outside which always raises my spirits. Spring brings with it such hope and promise doesn’t it? I hope it gets warmer for you in your part of the world.

      I had a problem and somehow managed to delete some of the blogs I was following, no idea what most of them were 😦 … thankfully I remembered yours… in case you were wondering why I re-followed you.
      Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the rest of your weekend 🙂

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      1. Yes, Spring brings such hope and promise! Oh, and I forgot to mention we saw our first bunny of the year! Our dining room table is right by the window which looks out over our back yard.. Interestingly enough, we had lots of April showers at the beginning of the month. Some of them in the form of snow. Just day before yesterday we had flakes falling, but amounted to nothing. Unusual, as when I moved upstate, I got used to May being the April Showers month. It is also the last frost month.

        Ouch @ WP problems. I would be hard pressed to remember all of those I am following, as many are from January, and I had not learned that I could receive email prompts at that time. Now I auto look for follow via email 🙂 I need to go through my list and set it up that way, since I also recently learned I don’t need to look for the ‘follow’ option on the blog, just manage it in my follow list. I’d be afraid I might accidentally delete blogs, though.

        I’m happy to see you here! 🙂

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  5. You express it perfectly – the renewal of spring gardening. In my case I live in an apartment so most of my growing takes place in my nearby allotment, but that’s nice too as you get to fellowship with lots of fellow gardeners and kindred spirits. Wishing sunshine your ways!

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    1. I always wondered if there is a sense of community at allotments, it’s nice to know there is. Thank you for your comment Claire, and I wish you sunshine too. I just had to run in from the garden as we have thunderstorms and rain here at the moment!

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