‘Gardening is boring and messy. Plus, it often results in despair’.
This headline rather caught my eye. What follows is a ‘debate’ between two people, one who espouses the values embodied in the headline, while the other puts an opposing argument. The two views are summarised in the table below.
|Boring and messy||Rewarding|
|You need stuff like compost, tools and special gloves||Fresh fruit and vegetables are a joy to eat.|
|You have to go to the nursery and buy plants then bring them home and plant them||You can grow better and more varieties than you can buy|
|You have to prune – things don’t survive on their own||You are part of your environment|
|A puppy will destroy a weekend’s work in minutes||Plants want to grow – if you pay attention, they will do that for you.|
|A storm will wreak destruction||You can garden for nature, for the bees|
|Fluctuations in weather will kill plants|
Having read the article, I did think there are a lot more rewards!
I wonder to what extent disappointment in gardening is sometimes promoted by gardening programmes, particularly of the quick fix kind. I actually find Monty Don running his fingers through his garden soil rather disheartening. Mine is never like that! In September I took over a second plot adjoining my own on my allotment site. A young family had taken this on in the spring, clearly full of very good intentions. The plot already has ‘good bones’ – a fruit cage, solid shed, greenhouse (some panes missing) and is divided into neat beds separated by paths. But the soil is pretty heavy clay and digging it is a lot of effort, basically manual labour. After several visits and some hard work the young family did not return. I wonder whether the ‘good bones’ of the plot had misled the couple into thinking this was going to be an easy job.
This has, however, been to my benefit. At the end of a horrid 2020, I am looking forward to working on this new plot in the new year. There are currant and blueberry bushes already planted which just need nurturing and I am already thinking that I will plant wigwams of runner beans with an understorey of French beans and perhaps squashes in one of the beds.
A Christmas card I received has written inside it: ‘Think positive; test negative’. Onwards and upwards.