A gardener’s work is never done, but even if you let things slide you can still reclaim what you’ve neglected. I certainly neglected a corner of my garden. It looked awful; scruffy and overgrown with weeds and grass.
See how long and luxurious that grass is back behind my grape and trellis? Now picture that grass spreading all the way across the rest of the picture, surrounding the grapes and filling in wherever there’s dirt. That’s what I started with, this is about half-way done with getting rid of the grass and weeds.
Have you ever pulled out a thick carpet of healthy grass by hand? It’s not easy, I definitely got my workout today! But what to do with all that grass?
Wild Wednesday Chicken Tip:
You can feed your weeds to your chickens, as long as you haven’t used any pesticides or weedkiller around them. Hub and I call it ‘giving them some chicken salad.’ Okay, maybe that’s only funny to us. Anyway, chickens love dandelions and grass, luckily two things I have in abundance. They best part is you don’t even have to knock all the dirt off the roots, they love to scratch through it for bugs!
It took me all day, but I managed to transform my cluttered, scruffy neglected garden corner into this:
I had stared at that corner for weeks thinking, I gotta do something about that, but wasn’t sure what. Aside from the obvious need to remove the overgrown sea of grass, I wanted to make it a useable space, but I didn’t know what I wanted there. I was dealing with other projects, and because I wasn’t ready to do anything with the raised bed in that part of the garden either, I just sort of shrugged my shoulders at it.
As I tugged on grass, sifted the rocks out of the dirt, and carried each and every one of those pavers, it occurred to me that gardening is good for a number of things.
It teaches me that it’s okay to prioritize things. That corner could have grown quietly for another week or two if need be, and had gone to the wild side while I took care of more critical projects. Did the heavens fall from my neglect? Heavens no! One of the best lessons I ever learned was that perfection is not necessary. I learned to let go of the obsessive perfectionism of my youth, and it’s done wonders for my stress level.
It keeps me active and physically fit.
It gets me outside, closer to nature. I’ve learned to appreciate the movements of the seasons, and it gives me a deep sense of spiritual satisfaction to take my garden through the yearly cycle. Gardening is a very spiritual experience for me, the physical activity is fairly routine, and this frees my mind to practice certain meditative techniques.
I take time to appreciate the beauty surrounding me, and say a little prayer of gratitude. Does that sound cheesy? Take a few moments with the flowers in my garden and see if you still feel the same.
I’m kind of into purple and pink, and it shows in a lot of my flower choices.
Gardening also teaches me patience. Somethings are really worth the wait, the time and the care you put into them. Even if you don’t get immediate dividends, the waiting itself can be a positive experience.
For example, I started an asparagus bed.
That’s not very exciting at all, is it? Asparagus is best started as a crown, every little mound there contains one of these little beauties:
Kind looks like one of those face-hugger beasties from Alien, doesn’t it? I’m lucky to live in a place where asparagus will grow like a weed…once it’s established, which is the tricky part. You can see I’ve dug down (well to be honest, loving Hub dug the bed for me) made little mounds and lovingly placed each crown on it’s own little pillow of dirt and compost.
Cover them up, water and watch them put up little spears, adding more dirt as they grow upwards until the whole bed is filled in at the end of summer. I’ll watch them put up little spears, which will turn into little ferny things, waiting for the bed to establish itself. During that time, I’ll still have to maintain them, keeping their bed weed-free and watered. I’ll do this for the next three years, only then can I enjoy my delicious, home-grown asparagus. No, that’s not a typo…three years until I can harvest. Once that bed is established though, it will produce for up to 30 years. It’s a good thing Hub and I love asparagus, huh?
One of the best things my garden has taught me, is the value of delayed gratification. It’s helped me develop my patience and, as odd as it sounds, an appreciation for waiting. Think about that. We all spend, or waste, time waiting…in line, at a stoplight. Do you spend your time building your irritation, and focusing on how tense you are? What if instead you gave yourself permission to let go of your anger and frustration? Give yourself permission to take one or two deep breaths, and relax. Focus on something you’re grateful for…your kids, your husband, your dog, your health, the list goes on, instead of concentrating on how angry you are to be sitting in traffic.
Try this a few times and see if it doesn’t put you in a better frame of mind. I’m really curious to hear how it works for you! Please drop me a comment and tell me if you found sitting at stoplights or standing in line a little more bearable if you take a few seconds to breathe, and relax.