Mindfulness

Last week felt depressing, everything dry and dusty and dead-looking. I got into one of those moods where I couldn’t see any sign of things changing; somehow I settled into the feeling that the witch had taken over Narnia and we’d be left in an eternal winter. Of course it’s never true and in the last few days I’ve started noticing the signs of spring coming.

Flowers opening on the jasmine. Oh the scent!

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Strawberry blossom, just when I was thinking that they ought to be getting a move on.

This lovely Spanish lavender I honestly thought I’d killed.

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I think we spend a lot of time not seeing the world around us yet being unhappy with it. We get so wrapped up in our lives that we stop noticing how marvelous the world is, what a completely fascinating, improbably thing life is. One of the great things about a garden is that it brings us back to the essence of life. Every shrub, flower, tree that grows from a tiny seed is a miracle. It is all insanely fantastical and yet it happens, again and again, and we should honour that by taking notice.

Mindfulness is a practice rooted in Buddhist philosophy. There is research ongoing into the positive effects of mindfulness on health and well being and it is defined by the Mindfulness Institute of South Africa as

“[referring] to awareness of present experience with acceptance, which arises when we pay attention, on purpose, without judgment, to what is occurring in the present moment.”

When visiting a garden you wander through in this state of mindfulness, perhaps this is why gardens are being used more and more widely for recuperation and rehabilitation programmes, but often in our own gardens we are so focused on the jobs to be done we forget to visit it. How crazy to put so much effort into our gardens and not enjoy them, like baking a cake and letting it sit there uneaten. Is this just me?

I used to start my mornings with a walk around the garden, a habit I am determined to get back into. When my kittens were little they would follow me; added to my own daily discoveries were their discoveries of the world around them. I remember the first time they stepped on wet grass and saw a dry leaf scuttling past.

Can there be an easier or more pleasant way to improve your health than with a daily walk around your garden, not for the purpose of getting anywhere or doing anything but just to be in it at that moment? Even better, it’s free (or at least you’ve already paid for it).

Garden Update!

This week has been freezing!!! It’s hard to think positively about the garden when it’s so cold, so mostly I’ve been stuffing myself full of gardening videos on youtube which is fantastic, but also a little nerdy, so double fantastic!!!

This series is GREAT!!

As is this one

And there are millions more. Being an anglophile I only watched the British ones which just makes me REALLY want to be planting an English wildflower meadow in summer RIGHT NOW.

It’s not all bad though. The compost is going great! I’ve turned it twice, on the 5th day and then the 3rd day after, because I didn’t get around to it on the days I was supposed to.  It was very hot, I don’t have a thermometre but I think it was too hot because there were signs of fire blight; probably because I didn’t turn it on time. Now that it’s better mixed hopefully that won’t happen again. The turning is hard work, just as I thought it would be, but it probably only takes me half an hour and it’s a good job for a cold morning. Have to remember to wear gloves though, the first time I did it I got blisters. 😦

I’ve started a second one, just a pile in the veg garden. I think it will be easier to turn because I’ll just knock it down and pile it up again. As we’ve got plenty of space at the moment this seems like a good idea.

We’ve enlarged the beds in the top garden ready to put in the fruit trees, I’m just waiting for my mycorrhizial fungi to arrive in the post, I thought it had arrived on Friday because I saw a parcel note sticking out the post box. I got so excited that I reversed into the bins. It was pretty awkward as someone was driving past and saw me and it turned out to be a parcel for my sister. :/

This morning I pricked out my cauliflower and broccoli seedlings. I sowed them into a six plug tray but there were quite a few in each so I transplanted some into more trays. That is more than I need so hopefully I can give some away for Mandela Day. The theme for Mandela Day this year is food security and literacy. Two of the things I’m most passionate about.

I also spent the afternoon planning my Rose Garden, (spoiler – not really a rose garden) so tomorrow I’ll be putting up the first of my garden plans. 🙂

Winter is coming…

Right now, as I write, winter is blowing in with force. Swooshing, howling, banging and rattling, on what is otherwise a perfectly lovely sunny day, announce its coming with a fanfare and I know that tomorrow we may wake up to frost and if not just bloody cold.

I’m excited about this. I’m excited because even though I hate the cold I love winter as a time of death and rebirth. For gardeners, like the wiccans, the year ends and begins again with winter. It’s a time of reflection and preparation. Without the forgiving green growth summer provides to cover them up all our mistakes and failings are exposed. It’s a far better time to make New Year’s resolutions so I am making mine.

Despite having lived in my house for 6 years (it seems an incredible amount of time, almost a quarter of my life in fact) much of it looks like I got interrupted in the middle of something. I have a short attention span, a tendency to fall by the wayside; I lack focus, drive, follow through, self discipline, self motivation and all the other traits worthy doers have so most of my projects and plans, having begun with extreme enthusiasm, fizzle out. I’ve done a lot here and there but my dreams of living an organic, eco-conscious, semi self sufficient life in a Sandton suburb are unfulfilled.

At the beginning of May, after a difficult and depressing few months wrestling with demons, I “got serious”. In the last five weeks, I’ve cut down some stuff, unearthed my compost piles, planted seeds, taken cuttings, dreamed, schemed and pinned and I hope that by the end of next year I’ll still be blogging and I’ll be on my way to where I want to be. If not, well then I’ll just have to accept that this is where I want to be.