One Block At A Time
We are blessed to have a garden in somewhat central London, a privilege that, although appreciated, has been overlooked. Over the past 5 years I have been eager to develop a smallholding for the growing of vegetables and fruits, and a somewhat presentable and inviting garden to look at and to spend time in. I have had sporadic, even promising and fruitful attempts at my vision, we did have berries for Baby Green to pick all of last summer, as well as beds of potatoes, leafy greens and courgette. I have built growing beds, carried two tonnes of organic soil to enhance what soil was already there, bought numerous plants and seeds, have a composting bin and have built decking. Yet it still looks neglected, because it is...
I'm a busy man, no doubt, yet I wish I could have a garden and more importantly a private space for cultivating fruits and vegetables as I know how rewarding it is. I am reminded of the neglect constantly as all of our windows look out onto the garden. My guilt has made me make sweeping pronouncements, both publicly and privately, but they are weak and fallible (kinda like those "never again" promises made after a late and inebriated night) that I will tame and take control of that unruly outdoor space! One of the advantages of growing vegetables and fruits is that there is an element of time, not everything happens at once. Put simply, the beds are tended (removing of weeds, turning the soil, and fertilising if necessary, etc.) seeds are sown and then there is a fair amount of waiting until more work is required. There are however, windows for when different plants will grow and be plentiful. Because there does not feel like there is a sense of urgency, I am slow to act and more often than not opportunities are missed.
So here's something I've learned about myself. It has taken a lot of time to get over the denial (ok, not that long), I am a procrastinator. So much so that amongst my favourite quotes is “I never put off till tomorrow what I can possibly do - the day after” Oscar Wilde. One of the perks of writing this blog, is accountability, now that I have a manageable goal that is being aired in public, I feel somewhat tied into meeting my promises.
A good friend has an amazing allotment that she and her partner tend to. Although I have yet to visit it, I have been offered some of its produce and have seen numerous enticing images of its bounty on Instagram (I encourage you to visit her Instagram page, Karlanewell). She makes it look so easy. Of course, like any hobby that we enjoy, such as my enjoyment of cooking, it becomes easy. I am not intimidated by the work needed, I am confident enough to grapple with it, but it just feels extremely overwhelming.
The intention of this post is not to divulge my gardening woes, but to share with you some of the steps that I am taking to begin the process of reconnecting with my outdoor space, particularly as spring is approaching. Part of my 'new strategies for the enhancement and enjoyment of life' experiment. Observing Baby Green over the past two years has taught me a lot, amongst the wisdom: Time flies, time is still. Little steps are leaps. Everything is important, nothing is important. Little is done without reason, a lot happens in the unknown. Process is more important than outcome. There are not any absolutes, but little steps that when taken one block at a time can build wonders. And with that final thought I decided to pot and repot some plants, so that I could get back into it. Small steps made it enjoyable and achievable. I do not need to dedicate a full day to work, but can take these small steps to begin to rekindle my relationship with the garden one bed at a time. Other examples of simple steps taken in order to tame the chaos include: filling the washing machine every time I empty it (leaving the door to the washer open, of course) that way when it's time to do laundry all I have to do is add the detergent and softener and turn on the machine, and clearing up the kitchen before bed time, even if painful, so that mornings are off to a good start.
And yes, Baby Green is wearing a Nirvana t-shirt.