Sunshine and sparks of joy

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There has been too much time spent indoors over the past couple of months (duff toe, Christmas, family demands, daily life, the weather) and no gardening to speak of. Dog walks aside, I don’t think I realised how cabin-feverish and lackadaisical I’d been feeling until I spent a brilliant day in the garden on Wednesday.  It was fan-tas-tic to be outdoors and have the motivation to get stuff done.

I cut back perennials, cleared a big bed of weeds and fallen leaves, pruned roses, moved pots. Back indoors for a quick lunch then back outside. I removed the dead leaves from the rhubarb plant, which is finally looking like it should do at this time of year, cleared off the crown and mulched around it, and then I took an executive decision to dig out five old gooseberry bushes. These haven’t fruited well for the last two years and were badly affected by sawfly last year. They were also in an awkward position, right next to a path, where their thorny branches scratched anyone who got too close. It’s all very well holding on to inherited plants but sometimes you have to be ruthless.

I’ve decided to apply the ‘KonMarie‘ method to the garden – if it’s not working and making us happy, it’s got to go. I’m up against strong resistance to decluttering indoors but I think I may have better luck outside. Gardeners already do this to some extent: we mostly grow plants that we love to look at or eat. What can get in the way, though, is when you inherit a garden full of plants you wouldn’t have chosen yourself and in positions you wouldn’t have put them. Granted, it takes time and money to make changes so it is a gradual process. We’ve been here for a few years now and seen this garden through several seasons, and we have plenty of ideas. The back garden is beginning to come together; this year we’ll make a start on the front.

Today has been another gloriously sunny day, albeit a bitterly cold one, and David and I spent a few hours outside. We haven’t properly looked at the garden together since last autumn, so we walked round to see what was what, discussed jobs to get on with and made plans for the coming months: perhaps gabions here; a couple of fruit trees there; maybe currant bushes; hoik out those plants that we’ve never liked but are big and established; ooh and this is the spot for a sheltered seating area; and what about the pond? Just discussing it all felt good. More than good, it felt fabulous and I thank my lucky stars that we live in this place and have a patch of land to create a garden that gives us joy.

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This is our little black cat, Molly. Absolutely nothing to do with gardening but she makes me smile. She likes to hide in the shadows, where she can’t be seen, and she especially loves boxes.

 

 

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33 thoughts on “Sunshine and sparks of joy

  1. Dear Sam
    It is great to be able to get out in the sunshine isn’t it? Planning your garden tasks is more fun than doing them sometimes!
    Do you know the children’s book “My cat likes to hide in boxes” by Eve Sutton and Lynley Dodd? I used to read it to the reception class who loved it (in my previous life) and I am still very fond of it. Cats do like boxes (especially if they are just a little bit too small!)
    Best wishes
    Ellie

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    1. That’s the benefit of being on very free-draining soil, Amy! It was wet but not too wet to work. Hope yours dries out soon so you can get on with what you want to do.

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  2. It’s so satisfying to make progress and plans in the garden isn’t it. I shall look forward to seeing them happen. Wishing you another good day tomorrow. CJ xx

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  3. It’s great to get out in the garden at this time of year and do things, especially to make plans. Weather isn’t good here in Lancashire at the moment and there’s so much I want to be doing. Molly is lovely.

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  4. I’m not familiar with KonMarie, but I have the same philosopy: if a plant doesn’t make you appy, get rid of it asap! I’m also itching to do some pruning in the garden, though tomorrow is supposed to be bitter cold.

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  5. You have such beautiful spaces to walk in…and I’m glad you share them in photos. I was able to take a walk one day this week when it was particularly warm. Where I live we tend to be put off from spending any time out of doors unless it’s a very comfortable temperature outdoors – good for you for being so hearty and getting out even in the cold!

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  6. Discovered your blog a few weeks back. Lovely photos. I wish I could get into the garden. The grass is squelchy, and the garden soil is luck mud!

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  7. It is good to have plans for the garden. I had a good walk around our new garden with a friend yesterday making plans. It was cold but not too biting and there was sunshine and then the most beautiful half moon. But a garden is not a race, it is a process and there are no deadlines because there is always next year. I wish my husband shared my love of gardening, but he doesn’t although he enjoys visiting gardens and manages the allotment grass for me. I am hoping he will at least take on the mowing at the cottage. I haven’t had any time for gardening here – apart from removing hellebore leaves and visiting the compost bin. But snowdrops are emerging so on the next warm dry day I must get out there with my secateurs. I used to have a pretty and shy black cat too!

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    1. How exciting to be making plans for your new garden. But you’re absolutely right – it’s important to take your time. The fun is in the process. I’m sure your husband enjoys the results of your gardening 🙂

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  8. I got out in the garden yesterday too and my goodness it was cold but how great to get out there again. Inherited plants are a mixed blessing because even if you like them they are often in the wrong place. It is so much easier starting with a blank canvas.

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    1. This garden is over 100 years old, with the original layout in places, and has some very old plants in it! It almost paralysed us with indecision but we’re slowly making big changes. It’s great to be out, isn’t it?!

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  9. Aaahh, the liberation of getting rid of unwanted inherited plants. Although sometimes it’s accompanied by a tug of guilt–sorry, sorry! Sunshine, a healed foot, and garden planning sounds like a recipe for a lovely day. We’re covered in snow here, but avidly studying the seed catalogs.

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  10. There is nothing like some fresh air and physical activity to brighten the spirits and regain perspective Sam! I find this anyway. I am fascinated by the building (I think that is what it is) in the third photo from the top. What is it? Beautiful light in the same photo too!

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    1. Hi Jane. That building is the Bluebird Tearooms on the clifftop close to us – it used to be a coastguard station and has magnificent views over the English Channel.

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  11. Isn’t it wonderful to have some sunshine instead of the relentless grey gloom? Definitely the weather for getting out and getting on with things. Inheriting plants that your mother-in-law put in is even more difficult! Although she never said anything as I pulled out plants and changed the layout, she’s never actually said that it looks and works better now. However, I feel it’s “my” garden now and am well aware that the next generation will probably change it all again.

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    1. Gosh, yes, I can imagine… The people who used to live here moved only a couple of roads away and still visit our neighbours to peer over the hedge and see what we’ve done. Gardens should evolve and alter to suit whoever’s doing the gardening.

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