Apart from planting radishes, broccoli, parsley, peas and rhubarb chard, I could not help myself digging one of the large herbaceous borders which is getting strangled with ground-ivy and elder.
I never would have thought that I would find this therapeutic, but I am genuinely gaining immense satisfaction from the back straining labour. When I was younger this would have been anathema to me, but not now, and the reasons are complex. Before Easter I set out to clear the “Silver Wedding” bed (so-called as it was created from herbaceous gifts given to my parents when they celebrated 25 years together). Now while I agree with Pippa that digging is very therapeutic, it also struck me that, while I found the clearing of ground and revelation of spring plants satisfying, I think that it goes deeper than that, to a sense of territoriality. What I am really doing is laying claim to that piece of turf – taking away my father’s influence, if not ownership.
Before, I would only have been able to venture into doing work in the garden under his supervision and advice. But now I am increasingly emboldened to take control and do it my way. And interestingly, he seems to like it. He does not – as a I thought might be the case – seem to feel threatened. But, perhaps not surprisingly when I come to think of it, he seems to welcome my input and likes to seek my opinion on horticultural matters, which makes me feel good, but also reminds me how little I know.
It has been a year or two since these beds were really worked over, and images of ground elder and ivy have now supplanted cows in my nightmares. I know I haven’t got it all out, but for the moment it looks pretty and tidy. As to how you get ground elder out of the numerous clumps of hostas that are sprouting I haven’t a clue, but if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing quickly so I just nip the tops off the weeds so only the flowers show.
It looks good enough for now God only knows how many weeds will sprout back after this rain.