an outdoor life … why do we garden?..
“The earth is our origin and destination. The ancient rhythms of the earth have insinuated themselves into the rhythms of the human heart. The earth is not outside us; it is within: the clay from where the tree of the body grows. When we emerge from our offices, rooms and houses, we enter our natural element. We are children of the earth: people to whom the outdoors is home.” John O’Donohue
At this time of year I take every opportunity I can to spend time out of doors – so gardening, as a pastime, is ideal for me. But, if I am honest, for six months of the year, when the weather is good, although a lot of gardening activity goes on – I do seem to spend an inordinate amount of time lounging about – drinking home-made cordials and tea, and sitting in the shade reading (my fair skin doesn’t take too kindly to an excess of sun).
Because, let’s face it – gardening itself is hardly restful – it seems innate in us, as we wander around that we always find something that needs doing – the odd weed to be pulled, a plant to be staked, a pot that needs watering - you know how it is. But to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labours is just as rewarding.
On Friday the weather was just how I like it – warm and bright, and not too hot to be uncomfortable – I sat with a cup of tea and my book (not very well-written, full of cliches, yet with an engaging plot), but kept putting it down, more interested in what was going on around me. Surrounded by blossom and birdsong I watched a blackbird to-ing and fro-ing with a beak full of worms to feed its young; a humming bird hawk moth hovering over the forget-me-nots dipping its long proboscis into the centre of the tiny flowers; a peacock butterfly looking for nectar – to me, these things are all part and parcel of the outdoor life and being a gardener.
A garden gratifies all the senses – to touch the silken petals of a rose, to smell the different fragrances of flowers as you pass by, the sight of the jewel patchwork of the flower borders, the sound of the wind rustling through the trees and the song of the creatures of the air, are all good reasons for why we garden.
There are those who denounce us:-
“Horticulture is just a pointless way of passing time until you die” Jeremy Clarkson
“There is more to growing old than just being interested in geraniums” Mary Beard
But, we also have our champions:-
“The garden is a joy for all ages to engage in, and isn’t limited to putting in geraniums, sitting back in a deck chair, and waiting lazily for it to grow”. Alan Titchmarsh
My garden is a respite, a solace – a place to breathe.
This extract from The Rules of Life by Richard Templar says it all ~
Leave a little space for yourself each day:
So what are you going to do with that time? Answer: absolutely nothing. And I do mean nothing. This isn’t time for lying in the bath, sitting on the loo, meditating, reading the newspapers, or sleeping. This is a little space for you, a breather, a time to sit still and do absolutely nothing. Just breathe. I find ten minutes sitting in the garden just breathing is a fantastic boost a couple of times a day. I sit there, thinking nothing, not doing, not worrying, just being, while I appreciate the pleasure of being alive. Keep it simple. Keep it bare. Keep it pure.
‘Til next time – have a good week and happy gardening.