What does your garden say about you?
Well, if you asked the garden itself, I’m pretty sure it would say I was a slovenly, idle mistress, prone to grand ideas and flights of fancy but unwilling to put in the effort required to keep up any semblance of order.
Which sounds about right.
But it got me to thinking that what the garden says about me depends on who’s asking.
If you ask people who know me, and who grow food, they’d ask how I managed to kill off two courgette plants when everyone else is overwhelmed with them.
If you asked someone who loves flowers, they might admire the fuchsia and the planter full of nasturtiums, both still blooming late into autumn.
I might tell you that right now the garden says I want to grow food, but am pulled in other directions. The garden holds evidence of activity – a functioning compost bin, a full watering can, laid out beds and even some kale. But there’s also evidence of neglect – empty pots, dead plants, untidy corners, abandoned tools. If you look at my list of how much I’ve harvested this year, you’ll see October’s harvest ran to a total of £1.80. Hardly spectacular.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want the garden to say about me.
I want it to say that I love colour and abundance and lying in the sunshine watching the birds. I want it to say that I can find a use for things that would otherwise be thrown away, and also that I have enough attention to see a plant through a whole season. I want people to look in and smile, not mentally make a list of jobs that need doing.
I’ve got many plans for the garden this coming year. I’m using it as one of my projects for my permaculture diploma, so I’ve been out there measuring and creating maps with overlays of greaseproof paper showing wind direction and shadows.
I’m slowly coming to the conclusion that this is not the place to grow food, not in the way that I’ve tried to anyway. I’ve been offered the use of a friend’s garden to grow in, so that will change how I use this one quite dramatically. For the first time I’m thinking about colour and shape and a planting scheme.
I’m quite excited to see what it says about me when I’m done…