Unless you are a professional gardener it’s essential not to turn gardening into work because of what it can teach you about life. It’s tempting to get out there to dig, plant, prune, mow and go mad with weeding. But if you don’t resist the urge to garden like there is no tomorrow then you are missing the point of gardening. Enjoying being in the garden should come first not what you have to do in it. By concentrating too much on getting things done you will think the garden into being rather than letting it show you. I know that if I wasn’t sitting on the tree seat around the golden elm at the Nuns’ House now – if I was doing instead of being – I wouldn’t hear the wattle birds scrapping, or the river flowing in the valley with recent rains, or the rustle of the wind in the gum trees, or notice the contrast of the colours in this Tasmanian light… all life’s joys that will be here when we are gone.
Working in the garden is a joy that helps you take the pulse of life itself. I know that if I had gone out with a list to cut back that shrub or plant that bed out, the day would not have satisfied in the way that it has just by walking outside and following my nose. So, after sitting under the gracious space of the golden elm, I made a path, burnt some dead scrub, decided to take down a fence, pruned the dead wood off the apple trees – none of which were on my to-do list but that have all got done today just by being.
Published in Country Style, October 2013