“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy: They are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” Marcel ProustIn Australia, I have always considered gardening an extreme sport. Once you manage to hack your way through the Lantana, there is the very high possiblity of turning over a branch or a stone and having something dangerous jump out and give you a nasty bite. Something like a Funnel Web spider or a Red Belly black snake, both of whom, lived happily in our bushland suburb. So gardening was never really my thing. Hard earned cash was happily paid out to other, much braver souls.
Gardening in Germany is a whole other ball game. We have inherited a wildly overgrown garden at the front and the back of the new house. On first inspection, is seemed like a team of crack SAS Gardners would need to be installed, just to find the back fence. None of this is helped the fact that we are flanked on both sides by garden perfection. Seems our neighbours take their little piece of the world very seriously, down to every blade of grass growing in the same direction. It must have been their despair to see our jungle creeping closer and closer toward their tiny little piece of the Chelsea Flower Show.
We are having a wonderful dose of Autumn weather, so yesterday, I just couldn’t bring myself to paint another wall, instead I wandered outside and picked up a rack….and something incredible happened. I became a gardner! There was something so exciting about clearing the first garden bed, sitting back on my heels and inspecting my work…something to do with instant gratification. I started to get bolder, the fear of ending up in the poisions unit of the local hospital having passed. Borders were pulled apart, bushes trimmed, roses cut. I raked, and hoed, I hacked and carted. Before my very eyes, magic happened.
It was not without it’s moments. There was the struggle and subsequent swearing, after a close encounter with some well hidden Brennnesseln (Stinging Nettle). Innocuous looking, but it gives a nasty sting, this time right through my gardening gloves. My last meeting was when I took an extravagant fall from my bike, as if the shock from the fall wasn’t bad enough, the pain from landing in the Brennnesseln had me jumping up quick smart. Mr Dear Husband’s suggestion was that I “pee on the stings”……I don’t need to tell you my response, do I?.
As I was putting away my tools, and feeling a touch of self-appreciation, I swear I saw the curtains twitch in the neighbour’s window.. and perhaps a little smile in the corner of his mouth. Whether it was from watching me do the ‘damn I just got another rose thorn in my thumb dance’ or he was trying to encourage me to continue, I’m really not sure.