Thursday, March 14, 2013

Gardening through the rough patches

In its own very personal, myopic way, it's been a rough couple of weeks. Very stressful. I don't like to write too much about the internal stuff because it's boring. It really is. The point is, late one afternoon this week I went up to the roof and I gardened. It was like taking a calming pill. I think. I'm not very familiar with pills.

I wore a jacket of Vince's, too big for me, but waterproof, and the longer I stayed the more drips ran down my forehead from my hair. It wasn't cold. It was spring-like, and I looked up often and saw a grey wall over the harbour, obscuring Governor's Island and the water,  until I looked up again and saw the wall breaking up and lifting and turning into layers of low cloud.

I sipped from my drink, a concoction of gin and San Pellegrino pompelmo (grapefruit). My hands were dirty, and wet. I left mud on the glass and on the pocket of Vince's coat where I returned the unused seed packets - I held off on planting lettuce as we're expecting several more freezes. But the fava beans and peas and chervil  are in, and so is the spicy mesclun  blend of hardy brassicas.

And I breathed. And looked up and out. I have not been doing enough of that. I have been looking in. And I have not given myself a view. Or gardened.

I must garden. It is as simple as that.

I have heard from and about many people who have been having a difficult time recently. For me, this work - labour with promise -  helped. Things seemed to straighten out on the roof, as I shook plant food into the damp soil, and troweled it in and pushed the seeds down, and stretched chicken wire, and looked across the water, and imagined small green crops to come.

In other seed news: We have two Botanical Interests seed winners! Lyn, and Meg. I've contacted them and am waiting for some mailing addresses.

Thanks you to everyone for playing - lots of really lovely green ideas for making crops into meals. The winners were chosen at random.

Meg wrote, about what she would do with her seeds: "I would love to roll some home-made sushi with the addition of fava and pea shoots, and add a melange of microgreens. Probably with smoked salmon, and avocado. Maybe even find a way to sneak in a rat-tail pod. (They sound like a furtive ingredient to me... until found out, of course.)"

So - I hope they both have fun with furtive Rat Tail radishes. I have my own, and should plant those too.


  1. Rat tail radishes are great, and keep well in the fridge!

  2. Here's to clearing skies!

  3. For what it's worth, the patch might be rough but your hand at the wheel remains impressively steady...:- )

    1. xxx I think you may have taken over the steering for a bit, my lovely man. Thank you. I know it has not been easy.

    2. ...and I'm sorry about the mud on the pocket. I cleaned it off ^^

  4. I love the orange ferries. Staten Island?

  5. I cannot adequately express to you how significant your post is for me today. I am so sorry that you are weathering storms. I am glad that you, too, find solace in your garden. It is a perpetual act of great faith and is a good reminder that we can believe that beautiful things will come. I hope you find all things flourishing in a very short time.

  6. Ah yes, the internal life- not always pleasant. I gardened too recently and found my calm. Ben had been steering the ship this past month or so, after all, that's part of marriage- to lean-in once and awhile. Sunshine is coming Marie- It's coming.

  7. This is what life is about, being able to look up and out...and see the beauty, and then truly feel grateful for the life you live, today. I mean really feel it....and then smile.

  8. I read everything you write Marie, and I so enjoy the glimpses of your life and your city. What a fabulous view you have. It is hard to remember to take a long view, especially if one has been concentrating hard on small square screens. Gardening saves the soul - it has helped me many times. Thank you for all your posts.

  9. I was asked yesterday where my happy place took some thinking until I realised it was my garden! I need to spend more time there too, good for the soul.

  10. It is a well-known fact (and if it isn't, it should be), that no matter how many caring people surround you, physically, virtually, spiritually...sometimes life makes you feel alone and miserable. It happens to us all, even those who are showered with love and accolades from friends and strangers alike. You are full of talent: a careful observer, a generous friend, a caring citizen, a lovely wordsmith. But I think you work very hard. Take a little rest. Breathe. Life and all its beautiful things will be there when you come back. And so will we.

  11. I finally got in my garden last Sunday and 4 hours later my heart was lighter, 4 bags were filled with brush pickup and I had the best shower I'd taken in 2013.

    We are so lucky we have our gardens. what a great place to dump our worries.

    I think you need a a mini vacation.

    And a big hug.

    xo Jane

  12. What is it about digging in the dirt that calms the soul and invigorates the spirit? All winter I feel blah and bored ... and boring. But as soon as I can start digging, that malaise begins to lift.

    Am waiting now for sunrise so I can start mixing dirt! Many bags of compost, vermiculite and peat in the car right now waiting to be blended into a splendid growing medium so that I can launch a new season in the garden. I feel like I am perched on the diving board, waiting for the signal to go. can't wait!

    Your sky photo is just how I feel.


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