It is time for a spring tidy up. Clear the weeds between the paviours, remove the moss, sweep the remains of last year’s leaves, trim the edges and tweak a little. Gather up a coffee and sit in the sun, taking stock.
It is becoming depressingly obvious, even to me – pig headed in the extreme, that taking stock these days ought to be about, ugh ,shudder! increasing age and infirmity. Various health problems of the past few years have led to a decreased ability to cope with nature, who takes no prisoners, damn it. I may rage at the gods on Mount Olympus, rant and roar at the fates but all that does is give me a sore throat!
I have choices, limited, but choices.
1) Allow the space to vanish under a tangle of green
2) Work my heart and lungs to a standstill
3) Sell up and move to a window box
4) Adapt and say to hell to the three afore mentioned
I favour 4 at the moment, the others may come!
My garden in some ways is a relaxed kind of place. Not too many rules or regulations. Wild and free – except of course no garden can be allowed to be that if it still wishes to be garden not a wilderness. I do not have lawns or bedding plants, for me they are time wasters. Anything which needs an excess of care tends to go by the wayside (vegetables of course are an exception but even those are told to toughen up or ship out!) However, the garden is in many ways quite labour intensive.
I am the compost queen of the village, no plant material is ever taken to the tip, either it goes in the edge of woodland strip (there is no woodland!) to rot down in its own time or into the compost bins with the household waste, dust, animal hair, veg peelings etc. I love compost – pure magic. A heap needs turning though, spreading on woodland edge needs certain agility. My wrists are failing in these occupations. Already I have had to abandon the heap proper – turning was too heavy, now everything rots down in bags, but still they need to be tipped into the barrow to be mixed. It becomes harder every season.
I prune, I do not chip or shred or take to landfill. My trees and bushes are there to serve more than one purpose. Apart from beauty, a haven for wildlife they provide fuel for my cold winters. So every branch that is pruned must be processed. The right size for my wood stove. All the small branches and twigs cut down for kindling. A job for warm days on the bench, chatting to the cats. My wrists do not approve of all this cutting!
Weeding now, I don’t do much; I enjoy my ‘wild’ flowers but with disability in the house the centre of the paths must be kept clear. Me, I don’t really approve of chemicals and so prefer to weed by hoe and hand. Both are hard on the hands. My wrists will curtail my fun, I can see.
I do a fair amount of exercise with hoeing and sweeping and this is good for ageing muscles, I walk a fair distance also with watering cans and smaller loads on my trolley.
I had built, when we moved here, raised beds, proper raised beds, seat height, so weeding beds is easy – just sit on the edge and lean a little. I gave up digging decades ago when our garden, at that time, seemed to be pure clay.
This week I have made my plans. I reckon I have this year, maybe next as well, before all will become impossible as it stands at the moment. So I am conceding a little.
I will use weed killers on the centre of the paths.
I will try a tumbler composter, with a handle for turning, and position next to vegetable beds (wheel- barrow use lessened) if it works, will buy a second to place near fruit trees.
Will build platforms so that pots of vegetable plants such as potatoes can be raised up level with the raised beds – to enable me to tip them out without lifting.
Will invest in dreadfully expensive pruners and clippers, and some lightweight wheeled bins so that I can process wood in situ.
Will make sure all vegetable and fruit cages are easy to put up and down.
Have you or anyone you know had these problems. Retirement is when we gardeners all dream of having more time in the garden but, increasingly problems can destroy the dream, how do you all cope?
Anyway, I refuse to give up my gardening, for the sake of two useless wrists, at least not just yet awhile - so there!