I’ve always approached my garden with an attitude of “what will be, will be”. I don’t make great efforts to water, spend hours tidying up beds, or prune (much to my husband’s chagrin!). It’s funny because indoors I’m pretty organized — “everything has a place and everything’s in its place”. But in my garden I’m much more relaxed. I let my plants coexist messily with each other and, for the most part, let them fall prey to Mother Nature’s hand. Now, I’m not always happy with what she dishes out — 70 degrees one day and 40 the next — but it sure makes for an interesting garden each year. I don’t think there are two years alike.
It helps greatly to have perennials that are native to my area; they require much less fussing, upkeep and are mostly tolerant of our summer weather. I get to see my garden fresh and new each year — see what decided to naturalize and where, wonder how a columbine from the side yard found its way to the back bed (birds, I think), and see how unexpectedly large that shrub grew that I put in last Fall. I’m content with the joy of simply digging in the dirt, figuring things out by trial and error, and learning from fellow gardeners everywhere.
It’s a good thing I started gardening this way from the start, because as I age, I’m noticing that I’m much less limber than I used to be, have less energy and ache more. It’s more fun now, and physically practical, to take 10-15 minutes to pinch back, weed or move pots during a morning coffee break or when dinner is in the oven instead of marathon weekend days that totally wipe me out.
Like my gardening habits, many things in my life have slowed down since becoming an empty-nester. I kind of like it that way. I’ve grown to enjoy the pace; to take notice of things I missed in my early years of being a busy mother. So, if your garden beds don’t look nice, redefine nice!
What garden tasks do you enjoy in short sprints of time? I always enjoy hearing your thoughts.