In a previous blog I have talked about mindfulness and taking time to meditate each day and reboot our brains away from screens and gadgets.
Each day in this lockdown I am lucky enough to walk out into my garden and look at what has changed. Since we moved to this house 4 years ago I have done a small amount of planting to soften a very dull garden – a lawn surrounded by evergreen shrubs and trees. I started with roses, lavender, thyme and rosemary. I then added jasmine and hebe.
Last summer it was very hot and dry and part of the lawn just disappeared into a dry patch of earth. So I enlisted my son to help create a new flower bed. He moved the edging out and dug some new soil in. We started to plant not really knowing what would survive the winter months. So by this spring we still had a new rose, euphorbia, asters, sage, peppermint, thyme and furry mint.
During the lockdown here in Germany we could still go to the garden centre. So I have added delphiniums, foxgloves, lupins and some different euphorbia. One day I saw an artichoke plant in a flower shop, so that has been planted. At the start there was a lot of bare earth and so I bought a load of white pansies from Lidl to fill the bed up and brighten it – they are a bit flashy!
Planting is an approximative process for me – I am curious to see how my flowerbed turns out – I have chosen blue and white flowers – I have put the really tall things at the back but the rest – who knows what will work and what won’t? I have suffered set-backs – a large cat or something sat on my lavender bushes and broke them. A mouse nibbled at the pansy flowers until it was brutally gutted and left dead on the edge of the bed. By the aforementioned cat I suppose.
Plants seem slow to grow with the dry weeks we have had. I have been watering most days. The pleasure of digging the earth to plant, the smell and feel of it and just being outside in the daylight and fresh air calms me and tires me in a good way. It is a familiar activity reminding me of when I was growing up.
Each morning with my coffee, I walk out to see what has grown a tiny bit, where buds are appearing, or blooming. Nature is amazing. I look at all the plants. I pull up any weeds I see. I greet the day.
Sometimes I eat my lunch on a chair in the sun amongst the bushes.
At the end of the day I go out and water as the sun dips. The smell of the wet earth and greenery is good. The robin I see several times a day reappears.
I am lucky to have this I know. This lockdown time can be a chance for you to plant things with your children – maybe just cress seeds on a bed of wet cotton wool – or to grow pots of geraniums on your window ledge bought cheaply from the supermarket. With a little more space this could be the year to grow tomatoes in pots. Maybe you will be tempted by herbs growing in your kitchen – they can transform food in a healthy way. Tending my plants inside is a year-round activity – some survive better than others but it gives me the same mental space as gardening outside does.
Greenery and growth bring peace. I wish you a good week.