The Impatient Gardener. (23.3.21)


I do understand in my head that it is essential for a gardener to work with nature.  There is a natural rhythm of the seasons, there is a DNA dictated speed at which seeds germinate and at which seedlings grow on, there is (as the OT sage almost said) a time and a pace for every season under heaven.  I know this and acknowledge it in my head.  I know too that these rhythms and paces are only influenced, for good or ill, very slightly by my actions as a would be gardener.  

I seem to have got several things wrong so far this season.  I sowed tomato, cucumber and pepper seeds with early enthusiasm.  I watched the first two germinate and was (and still am) frustrated by the inaction of the third.  Tomato and cucumber seedlings went into the greenhouse with its insulation packed away, as I thought, to enjoy and flourish in the spring light, where they became sunburnt (or at least I think that’s what happened, guided by the good folks on U-tube).  I think that deep within me I want things to happen, really pretty much instantly.  In the various woodworking projects I’ve enjoyed over the years I’ve found that I have a fair measure of control over events and that when I glue two bits of wood together they tend to stay glued – I think what I’m learning is that gardening isn’t really like that.  I have to accept that I can’t control these natural processes; I can influence them, encourage them, perhaps even enable them, but most of all my place is to watch them and to rejoice in them – at whatever pace they happen.

Maybe in our quite small situation, with a small greenhouse and relatively few sunny windowsills it might in the end be a better use of resources to buy the quite few cropping greenhouse plants that I need – that’s about 4/6 tomatoes, 2 cucumbers and 4/6 peppers. Seed germination can then be focused on bedding plants.  It rather looks as though that’s the direction things will go in this year.

All of that said, there is good stuff happening.  Various perennials are coming back all around the garden (and it is still only mid/late March), the compost heaps are doing their remarkable thing and producing good mulching material, the grass is growing and being cut, and there is much joy in potential as we wander around our little space.  Incidentally I was intrigued and encouraged by Monty Donn’s article in Gardener’s World this month (the April issue) which points up the connection between our individual plots of earth and the great Earth of which all are a part.  A sense of connectedness which sets things in a greater context.  The turning of the seasons is global after all and the rhythm that is being played out in fields, gardens, moorland and forest across the planet is the basic element of a rich, varied and complex melody, harmony and counterpoint in which all can play their part.  I think there might be something in that which speaks to the deep spirituality of gardening as a small branch of looking at and reflecting on the natural world.

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