Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Shrubbery and joy

 Today I feel very fortunate. As I sit down to write this blog, I am looking out over our front garden while the wind cuts across it and I can hear the sound of it swirling around the yard. I have a fire glowing in the wood burner and a hot cup of tea on the table. This really isn’t a bad way to spend an hour, in comfort, warmth and with time to be reflective.
This morning, between the rain showers, I started to create what may become the only non-productive border we will have. I’ve decided that an area outside the paddock (which will soon be the fruit and vegetable garden) would look nice with shrubs. It can be seen as we drive along the lane and through the gate and also from the kitchen windows, and over time as the plants get taller and wider, it will help as a wind break.

So I gathered some of the plants that I intend to go into the shrubbery and placed them on the grass to see what it might look like. This is where a good imagination comes into play. The half a dozen plants that I dotted around look small and insignificant at the moment, but in a few years’ time will have become large and floriferous, and hopefully it will be a cheerful border.
The border is backed by a post and rail fence that surrounds the paddock and tomorrow I will fix on some wind break netting (that got delivered today just as the sun started to go down, so too late to do it today). This should provide a little shelter for the shrubs as they establish and a little for us too I hope.

I was in two minds whether it is appropriate in what will be an organic garden, to use plastic style netting, given that it’s a petroleum based product but in the end I decided that this will be used and reused and until the small plants have established themselves, I really do need to offer them some shelter. I found some on eBay at a good price from GroundMaster with next day delivery.
The alternative would have been to use a hessian type sacking which I think I will source to use to around the vegetables when they need shelter. Our small holding is on a rather exposed site, with wind whooshing in from the estuary and across from the Atlantic, all this makes for some very dramatic skies which I’m really enjoying.
Anyway, having decided the positions for the shrubs, I prepared planting holes for them and popped them into their new allotted spaces, filling in around them carefully with peat-free compost and firming them in with my foot. The area that they are in is currently grassed over, but once all the shrubs are in place, I will mulch the whole area with a couple of layers of thick cardboard covered in bark chippings to cover the grass and deter weeds growing.
As with everything nowadays, a task that should have taken about an hour has taken me most of the day. I have come to accept that I am slower in my movements than I would like to be and that I get tired very quickly and need to stop and rest regularly. However, I am determined that this will not stop me from doing the things that need doing or the things that I want to do, it will just take me longer to get them done.
What has actually happened as I have slowed down is that I have also learnt to enjoy things more and take more pleasure in the things that I do achieve and also in my family, friends and in my surroundings. This, surely, is a better way to be than to be racing from one thing to the next without noticing all the good things in my life. Whilst I could do without many of the effects of being unwell, this has been an unexpected gift.

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