Monday, June 23, 2008


I spent a day in my garden today, all alone.

I moved a couple of tomatoes in to their new position, checked on what was happening with the other tomatoes, had a look at the lettuce, and the beans, and the lavender, and the onions, and the garlic, and the mint, and the strawberries. It all seems to be hopping along fairly happily, except for the melons which aren’t. I need to prick out (repiquage in French) some lettuce which I will grow on a bit longer yet and I need to sow something to go into the bed when the potatoes come out in about a month or so’s time.

This all took me a couple of hours.

Sadly the rest of the day has been spent doing one of THOSE jobs. You know, the jobs that you only do when you really can’t come up with any more valid reason not to do it. Actually, once I get into it, I don’t mind it too much, but the thought of starting always gets me running to find something else desperately needing attention.

Today, it came down to the job or washing the car, and as washing the car might be the only job I like less, I bit the bullet.

The job I’m talking about is weeding. I really don’t like weeding. It seems such a shame to pull out all those very healthy plants to leave the ones I have chosen to grow a little freer. After all, maybe the weeds have more right there than my plants!

But anyway, I buckled down and tackled the job which was, of course, now far bigger because I have been remiss in tackling it earlier.

As I said, in fact, once I get down to it, I really don’t mind weeding.

I sit in the garden and talk to the plants, alone with my thoughts. Sometimes friends from all over the world drop by, in my head, and we chat a while and then they continue on there own way. And all the while., I’m pulling little weeds and grabbing handfuls of big weeds and consigning them to the bucket which is to become their new home for an hour or two.

Sometimes, I just talk away to the plants, coaxing my little offspring to survive the rigours of life out here in the fast lane, sometimes congratulating them for doing really well, sometimes nagging them to pull themselves together and get on with it – whatever "it" is.

And then sometimes I talk to the weeds, those very plants that have dragged me out there in the first place. But I’m not so kind when I talk to the weeds. Some are just naughty little children and a sharp word and a gentle tug and they have succumbed – moved into their new home the weed bucket.

Others are a bit more persistent and have fought valiantly in order to try and prevent me pulling them out. "Ha", they say, "I’m so bound around this delicate little plant that you won’t dare to try and pull me out!"

But, they don’t know me, and I persevere, sometimes breaking the weed into a lot of pieces to free my protégé. Sometimes getting it just right so that it uncoils itself and falls helplessly in to that waiting bucket. Sometimes just screaming and shouting until it gives up and leaps into the bucket on it’s own.

Then there are the friends who stop by. I said before, friends come and we chat away. There are friends I have met on holiday, friends I have met at work. Friends I have met in their gardens and friends that I have met in my own, and they all stop by during the course of the day for a quick chat, a quick joke, sometimes a brief update on their lives and it’s all, in my head.

Then there are the distant friends.

Friends I have met who have gone away, I have one in China, at the moment and another in New Zealand, one in Perth (Australia (not Scotland)) and many others in various other countries.

Some of these distant friend are friends I have met in the 10% of the world’s countries that I have visited, some recently, some many years ago, but friends the same and they arrive in my head for a fleeting moment.

My family sometimes drop by and I catch up on the latest family gossip.

And then there are all those friends I have never met. Friends from reading this blog. Friends from gardening and other communities here on the Internet. Friends and business acquaintances known from letters and telephone calls but not face to face.

And they all drop by during my day alone in my garden

And then there are those very special friends who drop by. They know who they are, they don’t need to be told. And when they drop by, I often forget to carry on weeding, getting so wrapped up in their conversation everything else goes out of my head,. They sit on the grass alongside me and we chat about this or that, they advise me on this and that, they even nag me about this and that. They’re the ones who’s hands I hold or who get a little kiss when they leave. They are the special friends, in my head

Like I said, I don’t like weeding, but it does afford me the opportunity to catch up with all my friends, old and new, close and far.

I spent a day in my garden today, all alone, but being visited, in my mind, by all my friends. If you are a friend thank you for dropping by today. If you’re not yet a friend then I know you are really, as you are here, reading this. Think to yourself that you just need to introduce yourself and then you can drop by, in my head, and I can thank you.


chaiselongue said...

I hope I helped with the weeding today! What a great idea - I'll try and get my friends to help with my weeding.

Veggie Gnome said...

Ahh...and I thought I was the only one getting visits from friends and family while weeding.
I actually like weeding - it's relaxing and you have time to sort your thoughts.

Lovely post!

And thank you for putting a link to my blog on yours.

Kate said...

I enjoyed weeding with you today, Ian and I look forward to dropping by again next time.

What a sweet bloke!

me said...

Hello my friend when dawn breaks and A new day begins and everything is on the rise I will be along shortly to pass the time of day

ilex said...

What a sweet and lovely piece, Ian.