At times things seem to happen quickly. There is a sudden change in our life and we find is hard to keep up with it. Then there are changes that arrive slowly and quietly. So quiet that it is hard to notice them or to have words to express them.
I have written for weeks about the changes I am making to the garden. I have shared the weeding and planting. I have shared my over doing and the days afterwards of aching joints and sore back that comes with age and arthritis. You just can’t keep writing about weeds and pain. Who wants to read that every week? So what else is really happening?
While walking home from the local bar and eatery I voiced this to my partner. I have nothing more to say I told him. I voiced that I knew there were some changes happening in me and who I was as a gardener but I have no words for that change. At least not yet.
What are those changes? I realize I am look to next years season and thinking about what goes into the eight raised beds. Maybe more flowering plants. I have always been a veggie gardener with a few flowers in some front beds. This year the flowers joined several of the veggies beds. It just seemed fun to have a splash of color in along side the green beans. It have been fun to have a pot, in with the raised bed tomatoes, that has a vine with bright red flowers on it.
Flowers seemed to be crawling into my gardens without me really thinking about it. My wondering is-is this because of the shade in my garden that is making it hard to grow vegetables? Is it due to the work load of veggies? Is it the need for heavy start up, compost and follow through with food production? Is is age and the ache joints?
This year in particular has been hard. I got started late due to colder weather. The early seed starting was difficult with construction at the house and seeds, soil and water everywhere in my bedroom turned office turned green house. I did not get the raised beds prepped well with compost or mulch after planting. The summer has been hot and dry so it has been a daily watering to just keep things alive. The struggles have left me with plants with lots of green but little produce. I will not be making salsa this year. There are not peppers to freeze or add to tomato sauce. We have gotten fresh tomatoes to eat and lettuce and herb for salads and beans. That is all!
On the other hand the flowers are colorful. Many have come up on their own and have only asked for watering on and off. The pots were filled early in the summer and have been left to grow giving us color and green foliage for the length of the summer and well into the fall I expect. This colorful display has only ask for water and a bit of weeding here and there.
As I watch what the seasons have given me and what my body has allowed me to do I find myself taking the steps to reducing the food production and thinking to what flowers could grow in the raised beds? Could they become cutting gardens instead of food gardens? Would it really be easier? Would I miss the veggies?
Maybe and maybe not – as we find ourselves busy with our grandson there are more nights that a quick meal up at the local bar looks better and better instead of preparing a whole meal here. If we watch what we eat – stay veggie oriented we can eat in a healthy way most of the time when out and about.
So slowly I am seeing a change in who I am as a gardener. I am seeing more clearly how I want to spend my time and how I am able to spend my time without pain and soreness. I have found painting and drawing plants is also a lot less painful than the deep digging I have been doing this year.
I know I can not yet give up having my hands in the soil but I may be modifying what that looks like and feels like as this year progresses.
Time to do some deep thinking about who I am as a gardener as I walk into my 70’s. Building compost bins, moving heavy rocks for redesigns, hauling compost and mulch for weeks my not be where I continue to work. Setting up native gardens that can run on their own to some degree might be a wise move over the next year or two.
We will see where all this thinking goes? The slow development of change is a struggle but interesting. It is hard to let go of things you love but make you hurt in some way. I find it strange how I seem to hold on to things that can be painful (both emotionally and physically). It all is a bit fuzzy to me right now. A bit like this summer picture somethings in sharp focus and other a bit blurry for now.
Change can be slow and not always fun but an important part of growing. Even when you are old!
There is a lot of truth in your post. Many people, myself included, struggle to let go of that idea that it should be just like it was. Thank you for writing this. I’ll be thinking about it this and next week, as my school colleagues go back to work while I don’t. I just retired in June. I’m feeling a lot of “what I should”s…
Those first days of retirement are hard as you watch your fellow teachers go back to work. I found a good friend and went out to lunch and a walk in a garden on the first day of school. Always happy to retire and missed so much! Be good to yourself on this new adventure!