Taking advantage of an almost dry day, where the showers had done little to wet grass that was being dried by a rare bit of sun, I mowed the grass. I can’t call my squishy quagmire a lawn, not by any stretch of the imagination, but it was certainly lush and green… and several inches too long. With damp grass, soggy earth and a mower in serious need of being replaced by a younger model, it took some doing, even for so small a garden. But I was glad to be able to make a start… everything green has been enjoying the rain that I have been cursing and the grass was getting out of hand.
I followed that up by cleaning the aquarium and its filters and doing the housework I’ve been avoiding all week too. Then I walked the dog. By next morning, I ached. Everywhere. It has been truly said that growing old is not for wimps. I don’t actually consider myself to be old, not by a long way yet… but unfortunately, the various bits of my anatomy that are subject to wear and tear tend to disagree.
So, I was in a sorry state when I arrived at my son’s. Thankfully, I had engineered a fairly easy day there, getting most of the regular jobs out of the way the day before.
My son was up and dressed earlier than usual. While he was getting organised, I wore out my wrists polishing his dress shoes and travelling boots to military standards, did the housework and the cooking and was ready for the morning tour of the garden. This happens every day, regardless of the weather. Since he was heavily involved in its planning and design, helped when I lost patience with the delays by the builders and got stuck in myself, as well as helping me plant the finished flower beds, Nick has developed a passion for watching things grow. He, who was never a gardener, now knows the names of every plant, rose and tree. Between us, we could probably put together a growth chart for every shoot and bud in his garden, though, to be fair, there has been something in flower all through the winter. It is a delight to be able to share my love of plants with him too.
The Acer, though, is his pride and joy and this will be its first spring in the garden. I have to stand behind it every day so that my dark fleece provides a backdrop against which his dodgy sight can see the progress of the sprouting leaves. To get there, six foot of son leans on my shoulder, while I, being the perfect height to fit under his armpit, stagger under the weight. By the time we were done, I was wilting…
… and I could see where he was looking. And knew what he was going to say. I had planned on sweeping up the storm-downed leaves from the path. Instead, in response to a couple of heavy sighs, I got out the leaf-blower/vac thing and did the whole garden. I have been itching to do it for a while, but everything has been too wet. Getting the leaves off the stones is a job and a half though, with the heavy machine dangling from your neck. But it did look nice and he’ll be able to see the emerging Acer leaves against the pale stone clearly now.
I could see him looking at the few stubborn leaves that I had missed. I am a gardener, not a perfectionist… you cannot be both; Nature is in charge and does her own thing, like it or not, no matter how we might prune, trim or train. Her imperfections are part of her beauty. So the stray leaves stayed… and I whimpered quietly, cursing myself for volunteering while thinking of hot baths and ice packs.
But it was worth it just to hear the enthusiasm in Nick’s voice and see the smile on his face as he surveyed his little domain. Encouraging my son to get his hands in the earth and develop his own awareness and love of growing things pays off when he says that all he has to do now, if he feels stressed or low, is to go outside and watch the flowers grow.
Now all I need is the energy to start digging at my place…