Over the last few years I've blogged many times about my own lack of motivation, my own frustration that my garden just never looks good enough (in my eyes) and that I've seriously considered just giving the whole thing up and letting it run to seed and do as it will. The problem with that solution was guilt, I felt guilty that I'd considered giving it up, guilty that I wasn't motivated to be out there and guilty that I just couldn't get it to look how I wanted.
I don't know what happened this year but I suddenly have a different outlook on the whole thing - it started when I made a comment on a FB group that I hated my garden, while many people were understanding and going through the same thing so many others were actually quite short, sharp and to the point and comments varied from "Get a grip", "Well I wish I had your garden" to "Think yourself lucky, at least you can get out to do the garden".
It made me think. What was my real issue with the garden? Once I had those questions in my head I decided to find a solution to them and the solutions I came up with really surprised me.
- No motivation to weed: So don't! Simple as that, don't do it! One year of no weeding is not going to turn the garden into a jungle of unimaginable horrors and if it does, deal with it next year but for this year don't weed and just see what happens and what grows.
- My garden has no appeal to me: Once I'd thought that one through I realised it wasn't that I didn't like my garden it was simply that certain aspects were not what I had envisioned - such as THAT pond. Once I realised this the solution was simple, keep the things I liked and change the things I don't. The pond is now exactly what I had in mind when we began it a few years ago.
- My garden is boring: I figured out that the boringness came from a lack of structure which is easily sorted. I won't buy wood for garden structures but I have heaps of pallet wood and scrapwood so I built the gazebo and am building columns for gargoyles to sit on. I've made plans for solar lighting and have garnered enough battens off Mr TG to build another 3 or so obelisks - the ideas are now flowing and with no weeding to do I have the time to do them.
- I have too many gardens to cope with: Sounds ridiculous doesn't it - too many gardens lol. But it's true, we have 3 acres here but I have several areas dotted around that need tending - none of them connected so it's all a bit haphazard. The solution was really quite simple - don't worry about fruit and veg in the PT this year, they take too much time to tend and never really produce much. The tunnel now houses tender plants and a few cutting flowers and takes a bit of watering and that's it. The greenhouse area has a garden that was once a masterpiece (as far as I'm concerned) because it was the only garden I had, this year I've adapted the greenhouse (more a shed with extra windows- DIY) for the hens and the garden is their territory - no tending needed. I have another area next to the natural pond that I've been attempting to renovate and make look smart but can never get it to look right, this year I've left it. The weeds are head high but I don't care I just don't look at them when I pass it lol.
- Gardening is pointless because no one ever sits in it: This was the easiest solution of them all - get a grip woman! Who cares if no one sits in it, seriously? This year I've taken time to sit in it myself (which I never do) and I've really enjoyed it. A year ago the weeds would have done my nut in they just don't now, all I do is take some scissors cut the flower heads of and go back to my book. Who knew it was so nice to sit in a garden!!!
I think the best thing about this new found garden freedom is that the plants seem to be growing better without my interference. Yes, there's weeds everywhere but they're green so they blend well lol. and let's face it, some of them are prettier than the rest of the plants.
Taking the time to relax in the garden ahs also helped me to watch the garden through the season and see what's working and what isn't - I have alot of Day lillies in the wrong place and are reluctant to flower, roses that aren't getting enough air and are looking mildewy and a Buddleia that isn't looking too healthy due to it's damp position. These are all things I can improve for next year.
St Johns wort? Certainly self seeded whatever it is.
Stag Horns Sumach - despite it's tendency to migrate and sucker everywhere I have wanted one of these for years. I grew this one from seed and was surprised to see it doing so well as I didn't really think it would survive the winter here.
There's Thalicturm in flower in this image of you look close. I grew it from seed and planted them out last year whereby they did nothing! If I'd been weeding this year I would have dragged them out but luckily I didn't weed and they've now flowered. Can't say they do much for me though and certainly won't bother with them again.
In amongst the weeds Roses bloom. The pink one was due for ripping out this year as it never flowers, now it decides to flower. The white one is my favourite - it doesn't do well after a shower, the blooms rot but it's now about 9ft high and has been plastered with blooms this year.
So lazy have I been this year a wheelbarrow didn't get emptied on the muck heap and not only did I find this Pink growing but also a most amazing poppy and a lovely Lily. Both the lily and the pink will be saved and I'm garnering the seeds from the poppy.
So you see, learning to love your garden doesn't necessarily mean producing the immaculate instant garden that we see on TV. Often times it's about not stressing, accepting your garden as YOUR garden and learning to relax in it. If you really don't fancy gardening this year - don't! It's certainly not going to do you or it any harm and you never know it may just make you fall in love with what you've got all over again.