Saturday, 21 June 2008

EARLY EVENING IN THE WINTER GARDEN

imageSometimes the garden has a magical look in the late afternoon and evening, especially in winter when the sun's rays send a soft glow through the trees. Our winters are relatively mild compared to blogs I read in cold parts of Europe and America, where there is snow as well as unseasonable frosts that damage seedlings and cause a lot of heart-ache amongst vegetable gardeners in those areas. Today, for example, was probably about 16C and a typical day for June, with lines of light showers floating across the plains like white washing blowing on a clothes line. We can see them from our house and marvel at how defined they are - sometimes a narrow strip of rain, sometimes a cylinder, either side of which sunbeams sprinkle shiny streams of light onto the earth below.

I started out wanting to write about the vegetables in my garden but now I want to write about the feelings in my garden and how they can be so like a turbulent relationship; one minute everything is so fantastic and I pick baskets full of colourful jewels like last summers crops of capsicums and eggplants and greens etc and then the next day, it seems, the aphids have moved in and decimated all my gorgeous little Russian kale seedlings, making me very disappointed and despondent and on the verge of giving it all away and becoming a consumer again! Up and down, up and down, like a child on a swing.

When you first start out trying to get along with nature and the garden and the whole earth thing, you tend to want to dominate it all and you want everything to happen fast and nothing to go wrong and when it inevitably does, you don't know why or what to do. Eventually, after about a million failures, you begin to stand back a while and see what happens. So, when the aphids came to my place, I waited for the ladybirds to arrive and deal with them.....I waited and waited.....and, I don't know why, but they never came! Maybe it was the unseasonably warm and dry conditions - that is what I think. Now it is cold enough that all the aphids have gone and the garden and I can relax.

image This afternoon I felt very at peace with the vegetable garden, for the first time probably since last winter. The seeds sown recently are all coming up and look so fresh and clean and alive. There were the raindrops glistening on the leaves; then there is the way I like to pick a spinach leaf and pour the droplets from the grooves onto my tongue and feel and taste the lovely rain that, only seconds before, was high above me, in a cloud, having evaporated from some far off place and travelled all the way here, to my garden, before coming back to earth again. The perfect recycling system, that is what rain is. Some people then go inside and wash their vegetables. Why would you wash off that purest of all water? I don't understand most things about humans, I am afraid.

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The large, lime-green leaves of my favourite chicory are bursting with life and its tiny, new leaves curl around in a cute spiral inside, before gradually unrolling as if it was yawning and stretching and waking up.

Then I just stood there in my favourite spot and looked at the sea, off between the trees, as the sun's rays behind the thin veil of cloud turned the whole scene ever so softly and silently pink. I am so lucky; so, so lucky.

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It is a surprisingly touching thing for me to be able to stand in my vegetable garden and see the sea, especially when it is displayed so beautifully and is there, just for the looking, connecting me with the two parts of the earth that I love the most.

Peace. Harmony....

6 comments:

glenys said...

Hi Kate(and fellow seed-savers),
I am sitting in a little laudrette in Split having just today finished our sailing adventure, it was nice to log onto blog and see pictures of your gorgeous vegies again, I am hoping mine will look just as good when we get back.
I spent part of the morning walking around the back streets of Split, a fairly large town on the coast of Croatia,it is quite beautiful here, very hot and humid at present.
Being Saturday I was lucky enough to chance upon a farmers market,the produce was fresh and plentiful, beautiful plump figs, stone fruits,nuts, bottles of olive oils etc.Next to this was a beautiful flower market and in another part of town a large fish market.I have been buying a lot of fresh veggies and fish and cooking them on the boat this week, I think you would have loved it here Kate! Anyway I will suggest you add Croatia on your list of places to visit later in the year. It would be very easy for you to Island hop by ferry and you can rent apartments very cheaply. There are backyards full of lovely vegetables everywhere and I think you would be in 7th heaven.Also we have chanced upon some surprisingly good wines not that that is a priority of yours, anyway must check the washing,couldnt remember your address so this will have to do instead of a postcard!
Glenys

chaiselongue said...

This is beautiful, Kate - the words and the pictures.

Ian said...

Kate, you always manage to put together such marvelous words and pictures that your blog brings your little piece of the world alive. Today I could have been at your market with you. Thank you

Kate said...

Glenys, how lovely! What a holiday you are having. You will be pleased to know that your special parsley seeds are all up and growing nicely in my seed frame. At gardening Lou made a particularly delicious cake - pistachio and cardamon. Kathy's daughter is getting married. Sally has doubled the size of her vegetable garden - again!! I am deleriously happy and all is good. Your garden is fine - we have had some rain - but not enough. Have fun.....

Ian and c-l - it is sincerely one of the greatest pleasures for me at the moment, to write this stuff from my soul. It is nice that someone else likes reading it.

Inanna said...

Your gardening experience sounds much like my parenting experience...both quite beautiful once you let go and commune with the Nature you have been gifted :-)

Pattie said...

Kate; Loved this post. I feel this way a lot, too. With so many new gardeners around (and some friends and neighbors asking me for advice about this or that), I realize how relaxed about the garden I have become (and am continually becoming). I just keep trusting that I will be given what I need as long as I garden with openness and intention. Many things don't work out--but other unexpected things do. I like the visual of the child on the swing--and how that evokes for me the joys in both the up and the down, even when my stomach drops!