Gardening. Tick. Another chore gone from the long list of things to do before we move on 5 January.
Today, I’ve been in our garden. More correctly, I’ve been in the garden which has been, and will soon no longer be, our garden. This is the unsettling time between houses. Pulling up weeds makes a pleasant change from sorting cupboards and packing boxes. We’re off to an apartment in Subiaco. You can read about it here.
The secateurs, a little fork, my favourite gardening gloves with the green plastic palms and the cotton backs got a good work-out. My friend, Helen, introduced me to these gloves years ago, along with the practice of slathering barrier cream on my hands before the gloves to protect skin and nails. We don’t see each other now, but I remember the things we shared. Funny how gardening brings up so many memories.
Oh, and my trusty kneeler came into the garden, too, the one with the padded bar which morphs into a seat if you turn it over. To garden would be impossible without it because of my arthritic knees. Even on the kneeler, they complain bitterly about the travails of their shared lives. Sometimes their companion ankles get in on the act. Between all of them, and the fingers that pull at weeds and wield the tools, the chorus is powerful.
The rose bushes gladly gave up their dead heads, and I noticed with satisfaction a crop of new buds almost ready to burst. Pink evening primroses which added a riot of colour, as well as a layer of green mulch all spring, found their way into the green waste bin. The dahlias I forgot to pull up when they finished flowering obviously forgave me. They’re pushing new growth into the air along one of the fences. Alyssum grows in the spaces in between.
I pruned back, hard, that pink and white plant whose name I’ve forgotten. John hated the way it grew so rampantly over the sprinklers, and I often reminded him how much we loved it the first time we saw it growing wild on the verges and in side streets in Sète. .
John raked and swept the paths after I finished. Later he will plant a few punnets of soft pink vincas to fill in the holes left when the weeds and primroses went.
My tools have been packed away. The garden looks bare, sparse, but that won’t last long. In a few weeks it will return to its old glory for the new owners. Hopefully, they’ll see how much someone loved this garden and will want to keep it up. It only takes a little while; It’s not very big.
Some people, like me, can count their lives by their gardens. But now my gardening life, my active gardening life, at any rate, is at an end. There will be a few herbs and a dwarf lemon tree on our lovely, north-facing balcony, and I’m sure a few flowering things will make their way there. I imagine pulling up the odd weed when when visiting family, or being allowed to prune a little.
Lock up and leave is a good motto for down-sizers, but it probably doesn’t mean nothing growing at all. There’ll surely be someone in my life who’ll volunteer to splash a bit of water on my plants when we go away.
You may soon notice an old woman wearing a battered hat which obviously belongs in a garden. She’ll be walking around Subiaco peering wistfully over fences into other people’s gardens. Treat her kindly. She’s probably harmless.
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