It’s been a long week.
The nights are drawing in and the mornings are gloomy. The sky has been a particularly dreary grey most days, a shroud of dull cloud that dulls the waning light of autumn.
We’ve just had a big storm across the UK that has brought high winds for most and flooding for some. There’s a real sense of passing the abundance of summer and early autumn, and now declining toward winter.
A few weeks ago it was a most joyous autumn with an abundance of asters and trees laden with fruit; the storm’s rain seems to have washed the joy out of everything.
Gardening is one of those life affirming activities. Gardeners are filled with joy and excitement at all times, dancing cheerfully through the bounty of life.
Gardeners are so lucky to be outside. At least that’s what we’re told when the sun shines.
Life is always great in the garden.
In reality things aren’t all great in the garden. We gardeners are largely a pragmatic lot, aware that every season brings joy and sorrow.
Who could remain joyful and happy when their prize flowers are wiped out by a storm? Who can smile as heat withers the garden away?
When your livelihood relies on the well-being of a garden, the gap between the joy and sadness can be even greater. You tell yourself that this is how things are in the garden; the truth is that sometimes things just suck.
I’m sorry to those for whom every day in the garden must be one of unbridled joy; I can’t do that.
I run the gardener’s gamut of emotions, from elation to despair, right through the gardening year. For me there is no ‘snapping out of it’ or ‘seeing the good side to everything’.
Maybe there’s something wrong with me?
It was certainly heartening to read Marianne’s thoughts on the trials of being a gardener in her latest letter to Scott…
To nurture a garden is an act of care, and it’s only right to accept the range of emotions that go with that act of care.
To garden is to open your soul to the good and bad of gardening. The unbridled joy of a gardener’s triumphs are a mystery to non-gardeners, as are the wounding failures.
Some gardeners don’t care; they’re happy to see their gardens as little more than exterior decoration for their homes. They’ll get upset if grandma’s vase gets broken but feel nothing to the loss of a plant in the garden.
Some people care greatly for things others don’t care about at all.
I hereby make a case that we should vent our frustrations without risk of being shamed by those who profess a ‘cheerful disposition’.
Losing a tray of seedlings because you forgot to water them is very annoying. It is completely acceptable to get angry because deer have come in and stripped the roses of their blooms. Sometimes our gardens are heavenly, but sometimes we could happily never set foot in the garden again.
Vent To Other Gardeners
We know it’s not good to bury emotions. Pretending that gardening is all ‘flowers and joy’ risks building up resentment when things aren’t going well.
When we voice the things that irritate us as individuals it gives others the opportunity to say “yes, that annoys/upsets me too”. Having a good old grumble about the things that aren’t right lets us process things with other gardeners; it might not make the problem go away but at least we can share our frustrations.
By allowing ourselves to experience negative emotions with our gardens it reminds us that we truly care. Nurturing a garden and not feeling strongly about its highs and lows just doesn’t seem right somehow.