Gardening – good for the soul…

I consider myself to be very lucky.
This weekend we were working in a long standing customers garden, the weather was superb (a rarity this summer) and all was well in my world.
As usual after a few minutes of using the fork I was joined by the resident Robin (every garden has one). They’re bold little souls the Robins, getting quite close to where I was working to take advantage of my hard work and a dip into the buffet I was providing for him. You should have heard his frantic, almost excited “cheep cheep” knowing he was going to get a free lunch. The Blackbird is a little more circumspect and hangs back hoping to pick up a few scraps.
This particular garden has had years and years of soil improvement and nurturing. The regular, year in year out manuring shows, as the soil is so so beautiful to work ~ dark and crumbly and very fertile. I marvel at this once again as I take the fork to the potato row.
I get quite excited about harvesting vegetables as it’s the revelation of the preceding month’s hard work – preparation, feeding, watering and pest and disease control. With potatoes you never know what’s in store (or going to be). Carefully under forking the roots , and lifting to avoid damage to the crop, you lift away and hope for the best. Fortunately I was rewarded with a very nice sample of 2nd earlies and I contently placed these in a box and proceeded to the runner bean stand.
Every year on this plot I’ve grown runner beans on three wigwams using the customer’s poles. However these poles have had their day and I retired them last season. So a new bamboo frame was erected over a trench one foot deep and wide (which was filled with homemade compost).
The Bean plants sexily named “Pole Dancer” where very slow to get going in pots and frankly looked sick. Once planted out though they took off and rapidly wound around and up my new structure in readiness for flowering and bean production. The Bee’s have had a tough time this year in the cold wet conditions but they are complete troopers and did their work – beans in the box! If I had one request it would be for someone to develop a bean that was a different colour to the foliage – it’s so easy to miss them if our not very careful to return again and find a few that are a foot long and are drawing their pensions.
This property overlooks the railway line and it’s not the quietest garden I work in – train whistles and the rat a tat tat of metal wheels on track every half hour takes some getting used to.
As I feel the sun and marvel at the wildlife as I collect the fruits of my labours (which I add all go into the elderly customer’s kitchen) I often look at the passengers on the trains commuting to and fro to their places of work. I am reminded of the film “The Wall” (Pink Floyd) and see anonymous, expressionless, even sullen faces as they are transported to their offices, computers and unnatural lighting.
The raison d’être of this piece is to say that if you have a garden and a lifestyle of offices and indoor living – get out there and enjoy your little wildlife wonderland and make the most of it growing what you can – it is extremely rewarding and great for your soul.