Saturday, 6 January 2018

No more lists ?

Saturday was not quite as bright and sunny (or cold) as forecast but I was still able to get outside for a couple of hours and start to tidy up the vegetable patch area.  Of course, there was A List, there is always a list (or three).

First job was cutting back the wildly overgrown triffids known as verbena bonariensis.  Honestly, when I bought 4 little plants some years ago at an open garden the owner said "such a lovely thing but not strong enough to overwinter in Cumbria, I have to sow new seeds every year".  Really?  In this garden it has self-seeded everywhere to become a perennial thug reaching 8 or 9 feet tall, despite the RHS claiming it will only make two-thirds of that!  Nevertheless, it is a beautiful plant flowering late in the season and quite easy to pull out when it misbehaves too badly.  But I digress . . .

With some intensive pruning the back bed looked exceptionally smart, especially as I could now see early shoots of the small daffodils I've planted against the fence.



After lunch I finally planted our next garlic crop - only two months late and it will either grow well or not.  A good mulch of half-rotted bark chip and that's another 'tick' for the forthcoming season.



Walked Daisy, came in for a cuppa, looked at my "list".  At which point the satisfaction of two lovely jobs completed was replaced by the thought of "but I still have the other FIVE items that I want to do in this area".  And I don't know where the idea came from, but my list transformed - into:



which is where it is going to stay, and hopefully, any other "Lists" I am tempted to make in the garden for the forthcoming season will go the same way.   I had an epiphany along the lines of "all a list does is show me what I haven't done, it nags and reminds me of the tasks I really ought to be getting on with, it emphasises what I have not managed to accomplish rather than celebrates what I have done.  My garden lists are not helping me, they are suffocating the joy I should feel from working outside".


I said that 2018 was to be the season of consolidation, I wonder how different my gardening experience might be this year if it is also the season of not having any lists?  Because in truth, I always know what needs doing; I cannot glance out of a window or step foot outside without being aware of the plants that would benefit from a little attention.  And the other truth is that unless I give up all of my other hobbies and interests, there is NEVER going to be enough time to do everything perfectly at Bag End.  And the other truth is that nature can be extremely forgiving and if I don't attend to something one year I can do it the next,  or not . . .

This feels frighteningly liberating; but it also feels right.





15 comments:

  1. Thank you, yes! That is just how I feel. Unlike yours my garden actually is a tip, but I don't need a list to see what needs doing, I just need my eyes! We had beautiful weather on Friday so I tidied the garden for an hour or so and didn't think about the huge amount of things to do, just how it looked that bit better for having done something.

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    1. Thanks back to you, that's really encouraging! It is beautiful here today and I will be going out again soon, without a list :)

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  2. It's a wonderful feeling to be outside on a sunny cold day, and to see your hard work showing so lovely in your garden. My plot is tiny, so I have never had a list of jobs, I love looking at our garden, and if I see something which needs tidying then that's where I start. I am still itching to get growing, too early to sow seeds, will have to potter in my greenhouse.

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    1. Hi Marlene, the greenhouse might be the destination for some of today ... but I haven't decided yet, I'll just do whatever catches my eye and what I feel like when I get outside.

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  3. I never make lists for anything as they only seem to focus on the negative if tasks on them aren't completed - I say do something because you enjoy it, not because a list tells you to. Your garden always looks lovely anyway so I'm sure Mother Nature won't mind too much if you give certain things a miss once in a while :)

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    1. It's taken me far too many years to realise exactly that about lists Eunice, thank you :)

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  4. BRAVO!!!! Now you get it. I think you'll enjoy your gardening a whole lot more now and still have time for other pursuits.

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  5. I'm learning to drop things that cause 'harm' to my well being. It is hard having to think differently but we'll get there!

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    1. Thank you so much Kate. It is very encouraging and heartening to see how many of my friends agree with the “no list” approach. Xx

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  6. Definitely no more lists is the way to go. Your garden always looks lovely to me Jayne.
    I can't believe your daffodils are coming through as it's so cold and frosty right now but a sure sign that Spring is on the way :)

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    1. Thanks Eileen, in some places the daffodils are already several inches high.

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  7. I love verbena bonariensis but last year they were mugged and evicted by my marauding hordes of pink cranesbill - no sign of them at all. I'm hoping the replacements have some of the vigour and staying power of yours - that and a thorough culling of the guilty cranesbill.

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    1. Ah yes, that lovely pink hooligan also known as Geranium pratense. We have that here too!

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    2. (oops, hit reply too soon). In it's defense, the cransbill is wonderful weed-suppressing ground cover and if you cut it back hard after flowering in May/June then it will give you another flush of blooms in September/October.

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