There is joy in my garden this summer.
For a number of years it’s been a struggle against the enormous weeds that infiltrate the patio. Overgrown ivy weaving its way through the fence panels, tired decking slippy with leaf mould. A flowerbed that used to be a pond tangled with wild strawberries and dandelions.
The funny thing is, many of those difficulties remain – but we’ve created places to tend and nurture. I cut back the ivy, cleared the ‘pond’ and filled it with rocks and alpine plants. Resilient little clumps, they are weathering the hot, dry weather admirably.
We painted dilapidated fence panels in turquoise and blue which draw the eye to the bottom of the garden. I spent a satisfying afternoon with my father in law cutting up wood from the local sawmill and building raised beds. It’s been a family endeavour – driving around Devon with my husband and Little One to collect free topsoil and lugging rocks with Eldest.
Tending peas, courgettes, pumpkins and a runner bean plant is a gentle and soothing after school activity for Little One and I. Watering in the cool of the evening offers time to talk with Eldest.
It struck me that the inner life is a bit like my garden. We need spaces to rest, tend new growth and be fruitful. These help us to have the energy and impetus to tackle the weeds that can otherwise feel overwhelming: anxiety, work pressure, parenting challenges (to name but a few).
My plants need water and nourishment to produce a crop. My garden helps me to reflect on my own needs as I tend new growth in work life and life as a parent.