Wednesday, April 24, 2013

more gardening philosophy

Monday was a day of yet more gardening, another onslaught against the convovulous... I do feel like I'm making some progress though. We're a long way from being clear of the stuff but the parts of the garden where it reigns supreme are being encroached on from all sides, well all the ones on our property anyway. Whilst none of our neighbours would mind in the least if I hopped over to their side and cleared it away for them too I don't have the energy to be so benevolent.

I have to admit to being very much a food orientated gardener, which is why over the last couple of years I've focused so much on re-establishing the vegetable patch and not worried as much with the rest. I have no great love for many of the flowering plants that we have in abundance because they are spikey, invasive and/or give me hayfever which to me are three very good reasons to get rid of them; however I wouldn't be in the good books for that so instead I settle for trying to contain them within certain parameters and beyond those I consider them fair game.

Mondays task fell into two areas - clearing under one of the apple trees on the Northtec side of the garden and under the vines on the opposite side. The apple tree has a huge bed of alstroemaria underneath it which makes weeding out the convolulous properly a pain, except at this time of year where the old growth has died back and the new is only just starting to reappear. I got some huge root systems out and thick stems over an inch in diameter which was very satisfying. I'd cleared the apple tree canopy of convovulous some months back but as I couldn't get to the roots it had regrown. Now with the roots mostly out and the tree pruned it looks much more manageable - except for round one side. This is where the banksia rose and another climbing rose are - yep, dratted spikey things... Lucky for them I've heard their history and how they've come from Phyllis' parents place in Waimate (South Island, not Waimate North down the road!), via various Kaitaia homes she's lived in to here so I'm more inclined to go easy on them and encourage them rather than be hard on them! But there's only so much scratching my arms can take in one day so it was off to the other side of the garden...

... to get my legs scratched instead! This time weeding around bromeliads. Okay so there are other plants in there too (that should be) but of course it was near the scratchy stuff most of the work needed doing along the fence line. I'm afraid though that this time if any came up with the convovulous by mistake it was into the barrow they went without a second thought.

During this I was pondering further the analogy of life and gardening, and how some things that are dear to one person can be very much a thorn in another's side (and thumbs, feet, arms...) but with some understanding of where things have come from and what they mean to that person it is easier to be tolerant and understanding. But sometimes they can be too much to let you move forward with your own life and unless you free yourself from other peoples' legacy and/or desires you can get stuck, swamped and left with no room to grow and flourish.

Of course sometimes there is a compromise, some give and take, times and seasons for different things. Sometimes you have to deal with things in small doses, a bit at a time so you can persevere until the job is completed rather than push beyond your limits and then give up in disgust or too much pain.

I was reading an article in one of the Herald's magazines that was referring to certain life choices being seen as selfish by some, often by those who have a selfish interest in the opposite happening! In gardening someone has to start somewhere, they create a garden and in time someone else comes along and takes over. What has been done will often shape what happens next, some things get planted knowing that you'll quite probably never even live long enough to get the full benefit of it and you hope and trust that your successors will nurture your planting and encourage it to grow.

But sometimes the next person has other ideas, other plans, other needs - instead of an immaculate lawn and rose garden you get a sandpit and swings, or a veggie patch; a favourite tree gets cut down to build an extension on the house for a growing family; a 'natives only' garden gets filled in with flamboyant exotics... Should they be chastised for not following the plan you had envisaged when what they have done is create something that makes their heart sing? Yet it can feel like the end of an era, and those still around to see it may well grieve for what was and could have been. But others will benefit, share the joy, make their own memories in that place and no doubt in time what has been created will become the new benchmark against which what follows is measured.

As I said, it is an anaolgy that just keeps, ahem, growing...

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