The Productive Garden

 In Gardening, pensioners

I am washing up and then suddenly laugh to myself; does everybody do this? My laugh is about me reflecting on existence, the sheer absurdity of life. A couple of years ago, when we needed to buy a house in the Peak District, we said, “no big garden!” However, here we are on a big patch of ground. The damson and bay tree are growing well, the three rhubarb are away although one sulked for weeks. The five raspberries are in and the three goosegogs. The broad beans and dwarf French beans look pert. The potatoes are in. The three mint plants need a suitable spot although the three whitecurrants now have a home. The two blackcurrants are looking at me, desirous of a nice spot. Just thinking about the productive garden makes me laugh.


I am the major labourer in all this. The garden is my outdoor gym and I feel driven. Little is as satisfying as double digging and then planting a fruit bush, giving it a home. However, I cut a lonesome figure. Ask yourself, how many people are seen out digging these days? Ann and I work together well and life is all about where to plant this or that. We cannot pass a garden centre without going in to see what has arrived. There are a few rules though. The plant must provide something to sustain us or a bee or insect. Last year was the first time I recall eating whitecurrants and what a revelation! That burst of acidity in the mouth, like a mini fruit bomb.

The productive garden

In case you wondered, these fruit bushes, the damson and raspberries are also loved by bees. A garden is, potentially, one of the finest ways of countering global warming. As the floral and food advance moves forward in our garden, so the grass, the pernicious lawn, disappears. I also ask myself what indicator species would prove to me that this is a good garden. Consequently, I came up with a hedge sparrow, also called a dunnock. This petite little bird brown needs lots of cover and seeds. As we have virtually no birds in this new garden, what a day it will be if one takes up residence. I will dream, and work and plant like hell to make that happen.

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