Sunday, March 1, 2009

What good does it do?

I was reading just now a post written by Weaver of Grass, about a train journey in China. It reminded me of the notes I made about travel in Sri Lanka a while back. I intended to write them up: my husband took some amazing pictures, and I planned to put the two together. I didn't get round to it.

My worst fear is of my metaphorical gravestone with the words, where my lifetime's achievement should be, "She didn't get round to it".

Suddenly furious, I ask myself what on earth good it does, all this stuff in the garden. Who cares whether this weed gets pulled up? It will only be back again tomorrow, or next week.

Last summer we tried to sell our house. I tidied up the garden as best I could in a few days, but of course doing it properly takes months and it wasn't terribly successful. But the estate agents hated what we'd done with the garden anyway. They didn't get the point at all. The large stretch of plain grass and two shrub beds that were here before would have been easier to sell.

If I make a huge effort with it, it will look amazing. As good as you see in magazine pictures. Is that what I'm aiming for? I don't buy magazines any more (unless you count the odd copy of Country Smallholding for a spot of fantasising).

And just as suddenly, I come to my senses again. Of course I don't do it for other people, beyond my husband. It's not about approbation and acknowledgement. It is a way of being, which is inseperable from doing.

It's good to create a wake behind you. If nothing else, it helps with the steering. But it won't last. Gardening has to be its own reward. One person more at peace with themselves, and doing very little harm to others, is the good it does. I feel part of it all, of everything around me.

"Remember man that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return." Good.

And on that note, I'm off to turn the compost.


  1. I'm so relieved that I'm not the only one who keeps putting things off for another day. All a lot of stuff which I'll get around to ... eventually! :)
    In the meantime, I'm enjoying the flowers while they last.

  2. Hi Emily, I was getting worried there thinking you were about to give up on your gardening which I hope you don't as I like reading about what you get up too. Thinking about it I do it for lots of reasons. I think it matters to some extent what others think about it but I also do it because I like to see things growing day by day and know that I had a hand in it. I also like the challenge of achieving perfection in the garden even though I know I will never actually have a perfect garden, so its the challenge that I like. Also I like working outside and mostly on my own. I would hate to work in an office with lots of other people.

  3. Had me worried for a second. Yes, gardening feeds the soul (and the body at times). It's a wonderful way of just being and yet it introduces you to so many wonderful things ... and people!

  4. Gardening for sure has to be its own reward. It does matter though.

  5. Emily, Thank you for your honesty commentary! The estate agents were fools not to list your house as "gardener's delight". P.S. You and I have the same epitaph.

  6. Hi Emily, This comment is meant for the post above but for some strange reason it won't happen there so I will leave it here instead. You didn't say what the plants were that seemed expensive but if they were just ordinary bedding plants then they were expensive. I was looking in the Dobies seed catalogue today and even Geraniums are only £7.95 for 20 plants. Such things as Busy Lizzies or Lobelia were £11.95 for 130 plants all are for bringing on to plant out in May when risk of frost is past. So unless the plants you saw are something special then I think they are over priced. Bob.

  7. Estate Agents? If they don't like it you must be doing something right!


Hello, and thank you for reading and wanting to comment. I'm sorry that spam has made it necessary for me to monitor comments, but please feel welcome despite this.