Thursday, June 2, 2016

The freedom of garden life

I've been working in the garden nearly every day this week after work. It's been very warm here, unusual for Oslo at this time of year, over 80 degrees Fahrenheit each day. Sunny and warm, perfect conditions for plant growth, but a bit exhausting to work in such weather. Our rescued rhododendron is now blooming (I cannot believe that our co-op complex had just tossed it onto the garbage heap--their loss), and last night I found a tiny bud in one cauliflower plant, but not in any of the others. My spinach plants have also taken off, and the corn plants and pumpkin plants are also doing well. I have learned something for next year already; I can plant a lot more vegetable plants than I did this year. I was afraid of crowding them, but that doesn't seem to be a problem. I've harvested a lot of rhubarb stalks already; my husband uses them in the smoothies we make each morning, and I will make pies and muffins with the remainder. The red currant bush is loaded with developing berries, and that will be an interesting harvest when that time comes. I've sown grass seed in some of the barren areas, but it seems that grass takes a while to grow, even though the package I bought said that I could see growth within four days. Highly doubtful.

The bird bath seems to be well-used by the birds, for bathing and pooping. I clean it out each evening when I am there and refill it with water. I rescued a honeybee from drowning in it the other day. I've made friends with the local cat who likes to frequent our garden (because of the bird bath, I'm guessing). He sneaks silently into the garden and makes his way toward the bird bath. I caught him the other night and he reacted the way cats react when you catch them doing something they know they shouldn't be doing--a bit startled and embarrassed.

There is a harmony in the garden that I like--between me and nature, first of all, but among the various insects, birds, and plant life. It's interesting to see the worms, ants, beetles, snails and slugs all move about at their own pace and in their 'habitats'. The natural order of things, without interference from man--that is a blessing and a lesson in how to leave the natural world alone. It carries on quite well without us. I am blessed to have this garden, but I want to coexist peacefully with all of the other creatures that live there, even the slugs, but we have been informed by the garden board that we must clear the garden of them, as they will destroy most vegetables they come across. I do it, but I must say that I don't enjoy doing it.

Being in the garden gives me a sense of peace and connection with nature that I haven't had in years, at least not in this way. I love being outdoors and always have, but I've been active in other ways--walking and biking. Gardening has given me a sense of freedom that I have longed for, for so many years--freedom from worrying and freedom from my computer. The hard work, the sweating, the dirt on my hands and knees and face, the tired back and stiff muscles are all worth it for the feeling I get when I enter the garden and when I leave it. I think about it during my workday and I want to be there. It's given me a purpose and a focus that I need now.

Here are some new photos:

red poppies

rhododendron in bloom

baby cauliflower?!

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